The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) have reported record container volumes last year despite the persisting trade war which has largely affected global trade.


Port of LA moved near-record cargo in 2019 with a total of 9.34 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), just short of the second-best year in its 113-year history.


“In the face of lagging exports due to international trade tensions and tariff uncertainties, the Port of Los Angeles has maintained strong momentum and kept cargo flowing,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka, which he attributed to extensive cooperation and continued efficiency improvements by its terminal operators, supply chain partners and longshore workforce.


Self Photos / Files - Container-Growth_TMS_3425

Moving into 2020, he said part of the initiatives include continued investment in technology, expanding partnerships with stakeholders, further improving port efficiency and also working on environmental standards.


“It’s time for the courage and long-range vision to imagine what this Port will look like in the years ahead and set a course in that direction. It’s going to take collaboration to keep cargo volumes strong and our Port community thriving in the midst of increasing competition, an uncertain trade environment and a world where technology is essential to success,” Seroka added.


Port of New Orleans sets new record volume

Meanwhile, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has set a new container record in 2019 driven by the increase in loaded imports fueling the double-digit growth. 

Port NOLA moved more containers in 2019 than at any time in its history, totalling 648,538 TEUs, up 10% compared to one year ago.


The port said this is the sixth consecutive year the Port surpassed the half-million TEU-mark at its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, which is operated by New Orleans Terminal and Ports America.


“Port NOLA has now seen double-digit growth in total container volumes for two consecutive years, primarily driven by the Panama Canal expansion, exports from Louisiana’s booming petrochemical industry and a growing market for imports,” said Brandy D. Christian, president and CEO of Port NOLA and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corporation (NOPB).

“Additionally, these record container numbers are balanced by significant loaded import growth, up 12% in 2019,” he added.


New direct Asia service 

Louisiana’s only international container port also continues to expand its ocean carrier service network.


The Port gained a new direct service to Asia when it welcomed MSC’s Lone Star Express weekly service in 2019. Maersk and ZIM also partnered on the new service which, Port NOLA said, fortifies its direct connectivity with Far East markets.


This is the second direct-Asia service to New Orleans in addition to CMA CGM’s PEX 3 service with COSCO, Evergreen and OOCL as partners.


Port NOLA now features 12 weekly container services from three major global alliances as well as independent carriers, with direct connections to 60 global ports and more than 450 others through connecting services.          


Port NOLA noted that it continues to see visible results of alignment with the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) in 2019, a year after the Port’s acquisition of the short line railroad in 2018.


“Moving cargo between rail, river and road requires efficient coordination and a unified vision,” said Christian. “NOPB provides a significant competitive advantage and has resulted in true logistics integration of the New Orleans freight gateway.”


To allow the Port to work with larger ships more efficiently, Port NOLA said it has embarked on a $100 million expansion plan that includes the procurement of four new 100-foot-gauge container gantry cranes and other enhancements to the container terminal.

The new cranes are expected to be operational in mid-2021.