As 2018 comes to a close, the Port of New Orleans and Port of South Louisiana share their highlights from the year.
American Song’s atrium
Port of New Orleans
Disney Cruise Line to Sail in Early 2020
Disney Cruise Line announced it will sail from the Port of New Orleans in early 2020. The 2,700-passenger Disney Wonder will embark on a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from New Orleans, marking the first time Disney Cruise Line will have a homeport in Louisiana. The Disney Wonder, which will homeport at the Erato Street Cruise Terminal, is scheduled for six cruises during this limited-time season from New Orleans, including: four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries; a seven-night Bahamian cruise; and a special 14-night Panama Canal voyage, Feb. 7 through March 6.
Disney finally comes to New Orleans! The cruise ship Disney Wonder will begin sailing this coming February.
Avondale Revitalization Moves Forward
The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) and the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corporation (NOPB) approved separate resolutions authorizing Cooperative Endeavor Agreements between Port NOLA, NOPB, Jefferson Parish and Avondale Marine LLC to facilitate the proposed redevelopment of the former Avondale Shipyard site.
The benefits to Port NOLA and NOPB may include additional revenue from increased value-added and maritime activity throughout the jurisdiction. Port NOLA’s goal has been to support the re-opening of the site with additive and sustainable maritime activity that will benefit the region and generate family-supporting jobs.
Port Launches Completely Revamped, User-Centered Website
The Port of New Orleans announced in August 2018 the launch of its completely reimagined new website that reflects the Port’s vision as an economic catalyst for the region while being more accessible to the Port’s multiple audiences. The new site, portnola.com, prioritizes a clean, uncluttered design, the latest user-interface tools, measurable analytics and essential content to convey the breadth of Port NOLA’s diverse yet integrated lines of business. The streamlined look and functionality were engineered for easy navigation and more insightful behavior tracking, and the architecture can be adapted to meet future needs.
Maritime Administration Awards Port $2.5 Million Grant
The Port of New Orleans announced in August 2018 that it was awarded a $2.5 million U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) grant to support the current container-on-barge shuttle service operated by SEACOR AMH between New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Memphis, and to launch a new container-on-barge shuttle service on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal in New Orleans.
The grant will be used to purchase marine terminal handling equipment for efficient loading and unloading of container-on-barge operations in New Orleans. The existing service, which operates on a regular, reliable schedule, repositions empty containers from Memphis to Baton Rouge to meet export customer demand. The loaded containers are then shipped by barge along the Mississippi River to Port NOLA to be loaded onto vessels for export to overseas markets.
Port of South Louisiana
Formosa to Build $9.4 Billion Project
This past April, Formosa Petrochemical Corp. announced that the company has selected St. James Parish as the future home of its $9.4 billion chemical manufacturing complex. Located just downriver from the Sunshine Bridge, the 2,400-acre site on the west bank of the Mississippi River will be built in two phases and produce ethylene, propylene, ethylene glycol and associated polymers.
Branded as “The Sunshine Project,” the complex is expected to begin construction in 2019, with construction projected to take 10 years. An estimated 1,200 new direct jobs will be created with salaries averaging $84,500 plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will also result in 8,000 new indirect jobs.
It’s Time to Dredge
Along with the Big River Coalition, the Port of South Louisiana has worked to encourage support in favor of dredging the Mississippi River Channel from its current 45 feet to 50 feet from the Gulf of Mexico to Baton Rouge. The port feels that maintaining a draft of 50 feet will lead to greater commerce and carrying capacity, as well as provide dredged materials for the establishment of 1,500 acres of new marsh habitat, boosting flood-protection measures.
Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport
Five years ago, St. John the Baptist Parish transferred ownership of the area airport to the Port of South Louisiana. Since that time, the port has upgraded the runway to 5,150 feet to accompany corporate jets, upgraded the fuel tanks, began offering Jet-A fuel to the mix, along with Avgas, and remodeled the terminal building to include a pilot’s lounge, a conference room and other amenities. Recently, the port also completed a 6,500-square-foot transient hangar. The airport is currently in the planning stages on a new set of t-hangars to accommodate the need for more private hangar space.
This past April, the airport hosted the Ford Tri-Motor airplane on its tour across the country. The 1929 metal, multi-engine commercial airliner nicknamed the “Tin Goose” allowed ticketholders a chance to experience the golden age of air travel. The fully restored Tri-Motor can hold up to nine passengers and one co-pilot seat per flight and flew 34 flights in the three-and-a-half days it was here, including a media flight to kick off the event, with 321 people taking to the sky.
In May, the airport hosted the second-annual St. John Parish Aviation Awareness Day, an event that encourages school-age children to consider future careers in aviation.
National Economic Development Week Breakfast
This past May, together with St. John the Baptist Parish, the Port of South Louisiana hosted a breakfast as part of the parish’s National Economic Development Week. Congressman Cedric Richmond was the guest speaker at the event, which aimed to recognize all those in the River Region and the state who are active in the creation, retention and expansion of jobs, the development of a stable tax base and new industrial investments.
Port of New Orleans
American Song Launching Port NOLA into River Cruising Modernity
The momentum of the cruise sector at the Port of New Orleans has the Crescent City positioned to make river-cruise history when the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States welcomes the first modern riverboat in the country this fall, American Song. According to American Cruise Lines, the company that operates the ship, American Song is set to make its inaugural cruise Oct. 6, 2018, on the Mississippi River from New Orleans and will cruise a full schedule of eight-day Lower Mississippi River cruises throughout the remainder of 2018.
Port of South Louisiana
Welcoming European Dignitaries
In July, the Port of South Louisiana and the World Trade Center of New Orleans welcomed a delegation of European Union dignitaries in Louisiana for a regional two-day tour that focused on issues relating to EU-U.S. trade. During the event, attendees heard from guest speaker Commissioner Mike Strain and the port provided an overview of its operations as the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere and the 16th-largest tonnage port in the world.
Partnerships with Nicholls State University and River Parish Community College
In late July, the Port of South Louisiana affirmed its commitment to land conservation and maritime-industry education by entering into cooperative-endeavor agreements with both Nicholls State University and River Parish Community College. Two years ago, the port signed an agreement with Nicholls State pledging to support and promote the latter’s Coastal Restoration Program, which seeks to restore and preserve Louisiana’s wetlands, marshes and beach fronts. The port is also supporting River Parish Community College’s attempt to develop and implement a Maritime Workforce Program. As maritime businesses seek to expand and add jobs, the RPCC program will be geared toward providing participants with the needed skills and training (including deckhand, safety and rescue operations) to fill the spots created in the field.