MarAd Awards $2.5 Mln Grant to Port of New Orleans
The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has been 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 (IHNC) 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.
“The Port of New Orleans is appreciative to receive this grant from MARAD to enhance our growing container-on-barge services that more of our customers are taking advantage of,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans President and CEO. “We are also excited about developing a new container-on-barge service for tenants and customers located on the IHNC giving them an efficient and environmentally friendly alternative logistics solution to move cargo on our marine highways.”
The funding is provided by MARAD’s Marine Highway Program which supports the expanded use of navigable waterways to relieve landside congestion, provide new transportation options and generate other public benefits by increasing the efficiency of the surface transportation system. The program works with public and private stakeholders to achieve these goals.
“These marine highway grants will help expand freight movement on the water and modernize our inland ports and waterways,” said Rear Admiral Mark H. Buzby, U.S. Maritime Administrator.
The grant is one of six Marine Highway projects to receive a portion of the total $4.8 million awarded by MARAD. The award was announced by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao during a visit to Port NOLA with Rear Adm. Buzby last week.
“Strengthening the country’s waterways and domestic seaports stimulates economic growth, reduces congestion and increases the efficiency of our national freight transportation system,” said Secretary Chao.
In addition to providing an alternative logistics solution for cargo owners, the container-on-barge service also provides a benefit to the community. Container-on-barge traffic reduces the amount of diesel emissions and congestion on surface streets and interstates that can occur on both ends of the supply chain in the surface transportation system.
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.
SEACOR AMH has moved than 7,700 containers from Baton Rouge to New Orleans year-to-date and anticipates moving up to 14,000 in 2018.