Maritime Administration awards Port NOLA, Greater Baton Rouge $1.75M grant
The Port of New Orleans and the Port of Greater Baton Rouge will acquire specialized container loading equipment to increase efficiencies to the current container-on-barge shuttle service operated by SEACOR AMH between Baton Rouge and New Orleans with a grant of $1.75 million from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).
The container-on-barge service and the application for the MARAD grant were joint projects for Baton Rouge and New Orleans, with both ports working together for more than a year.
SEACOR AMH, operator and developer of the shuttle service, and Ports America, the terminal operator at the Port of New Orleans and Port of Greater Baton Rouge, were also strategic partners in obtaining the grant.
The shuttle service, which began in 2016 with five barges per week, is a regularly scheduled container-on-barge service that supports exports moving from the Baton Rouge area to the Port of New Orleans, where the containers are loaded onto container vessels.
The new service fulfills a market need by repositioning empty containers from Memphis to Baton Rouge for the increasing volume of resin exports from the Baton Rouge area. It also provides exporters with new, more efficient transportation options and offers a waterway alternative to re-position empty equipment that would otherwise move via truck or rail.
“Receiving this grant to work with the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and SEACOR AMH to offer container-on-barge service to our customers will have economic and operational benefits, as well as a positive environmental impact,” said Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans.
According to figures from a U.S. Department of Transportation study, there is a savings to the State of Louisiana of $118 per round-trip 40-foot container between New Orleans and Baton Rouge if moved by barge rather than over the road. The grant, awarded jointly to the two Louisiana ports and administered by the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, is one of six Marine Highway projects to receive a portion of the total $4.85 million awarded by MARAD.
“These grants will help us take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of one of America’s most crucial transportation assets — our coastal and inland waterways,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen added, “It is essential that we invest in integrated, multi-modal transportation systems that support the efficient movement of freight and people throughout this country. Our nation’s extensive network of waterways and domestic seaports provide an opportunity to help stimulate economic growth while reducing congestion on our national freight transportation system.”