Cargo worked at the Port of New Orleans’ public docks in 2014 totaled 8.37 million tons, the highest total since 2000 and up 28 percent compared to the prior 12-month period, the port reported.
Imported steel and container cargo led the growth, as imported iron and steel rose 101.6 percent in the 12-month-period to 3.54 million tons. Overall breakbulk tons totaled 3.76 million tons, up 51.7 percent and container tons topped 4.61 million tons, up 13.5 percent compared to the prior year.
“It was a busy year for the port and these numbers reflect the success we’ve realized from the combined efforts of the entire port community,” said Gary LaGrange, port president and CEO. “This is great news and creates momentum for our terminal operators and customers. The challenge now is to build upon these successes and continue to grow.”
Total port-wide cargo, which includes midstream operations, export grain and private tonnage within the port’s three-parish (county) jurisdiction also rose 27.68 percent to 31.05 million tons. Many of the port’s top commodities realized healthy gains, as well. Export poultry grew by 5.5 percent to 331,523 tons and imported bananas grew by 251 percent to 72,165 tons despite only seven weeks of cargo delivered by Chiquita Brands LLC.
New shippers such as Chiquita, which returned to the port after a 40-year hiatus, and project cargo generated by the growing chemical industry, will bolster cargo figures in the future, LaGrange said.
“New weekly services, such as CMA CGM’s Victory Bridge Service to Europe, the return of Maersk Line’s vessels, Chiquita cargo and our new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal will position the port for future growth,” LaGrange said.
The cargo figures come on the heels of record cruise growth, as the port topped 1 million passenger embarkations and disembarkations for the first time and an all-time container mark of 490,526 twenty-foot-equivalent units in 2014 and a projection of well over 500,000 TEUs for 2015.