Port of New Orleans Cargo Operations Resume Four Days After Hurricane Ida

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The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) resumed limited cargo and vessel operations, beginning with breakbulk vessel cargo, Sept. 2, 2021, just four days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in southeast Louisiana as a category 4 storm. New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) operations have also resumed with modified hours.

Container operations will resume at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Port crews, terminal operators and tenants continue to prepare facilities for the resumption of operations more broadly. Terminal operator schedules can be found on the Port NOLA storm update webpage.

”The State of Louisiana and our entire maritime industry are resilient. In the wake of this powerful storm, we are thankful for our essential port workers, maritime partners, as well as the federal, state, and local partners who worked tirelessly to get the Port NOLA gateway up and running,” said Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO of Port NOLA and CEO of the NOPB. “Nationally, Port NOLA supports nearly 120,000 jobs and generates an economic impact of nearly $30 billion. Our focus has been to resume operations quickly and safely.”

On Sept. 1, 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Lower Mississippi River to all vessel traffic from mile marker 105 to the mouth of the River.

The port’s terminals and industrial real estate properties sustained no major damage, due to their location within the $14 billion federal Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.

Immediately following Hurricane Ida, Port NOLA implemented its hurricane restoration plan, locating employees, assessing facility impacts, and coordinating with state and local agencies.

Seven general cargo vessels remained in port during Hurricane Ida, and cargo operations for these vessels resumed on Sept. 2 beginning with the MV Ishizuchi Star, discharging steel at Coastal Cargo at the Louisiana Avenue Complex. Approximately 70 dockworkers worked cargo operations Friday, Sept. 3. Three terminal operators, Coastal Cargo, Gulf Stream Marine and Ports America were operating today. Empire Stevedoring will resume operations on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

NOPB operations also resumed with modified hours of operation between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to connect with BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific with uninterrupted service, and CN, CSX and KCS with limited service. Navigation on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway east of the Mississippi River through the Inner Harbor Canal Lock has also resumed.

Carnival Glory arrived at Port NOLA’s Erato Street Cruise Terminal today. The ship’s Sept. 5sailing from Port NOLA was cancelled due to Hurricane Ida’s impacts. The cruise line encourages booked passengers to visit the Carnival website for updates and information.

“Port and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad staff and our partner agencies worked collaboratively to overcome significant challenges,” Christian said. “Partners, such as Entergy, FEMA, U.S. Coast Guard, U. S. Maritime Administration, Governor Edwards and our local, state and federal delegations are to be commended for their efforts to restart freight operations on the Lower Mississippi River. Also, Carnival Cruise Line, our terminal operators, the local ILA 3000, and many others continue critical efforts to assist recovery within the Port and the region.”

Port NOLA is a top importer of coffee, steel, natural rubber and consumer goods; and a top exporter of frozen poultry and plastic resins for manufacturing. The Lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf is one of the busiest port complexes in the world, with approximately 6,000 oceangoing ships annually transiting the River and handling 60 percent of the Nation’s export grain and 20 percent of its energy.