Fourteen vessels, including four containerships, set call port

Business continues to build at the Port of New Orleans as 14 vessels, including four container ships, called on the port. The number topped the previous week’s schedule of nine ships and demonstrates steady growth in cargo operations.

CP Ships and Mediterranean Shipping Company will each bring in two container ships. The 885-foot TMM Guanajunto arrived first, followed by MSC’s 855-foot Scandinavia and 596-foot Manaus. CP Ships’ 850-foot Liberator is scheduled to arrive later. Osprey Line barges will move container cargo as well. The CP Ships’ Lykes Flyer, which was the first containership to call on the port since Hurricane Katrina on Sept. 13, is now scheduled to be back in New Orleans Oct. 25.

Terminal operators P&O Ports, Coastal Cargo Company, Empire Stevedoring and Pacorini are working multiple container or breakbulk ships throughout the week with more and more work on the way.

“We’re progressing each and every week,” said Gary LaGrange, the port’s president and chief executive officer. “The 14 vessels that we are handling this week represent about 35% of our pre-Katrina ship traffic. Although we continue to face many challenges, the return of these vessels to the port is good news for the Louisiana economy and the national economy.”

About 380,000 total jobs in the United States and $16.9 billion in personal income are related to the Port of New Orleans maritime terminals, according to an economic study completed just before Hurricane Katrina.

Port officials say there continues to be a high demand for truck drivers throughout the port community. Truck capacity is currently running about 40% of pre-storm levels, but also improving each week. To accommodate truck drivers and other port personnel wishing to return to work but who may not have a place to live, accommodations aboard Maritime Administration vessels are still available free of charge. The quarters on board the ships are available to Port industry workers only; family members or pets cannot stay aboard the ships. Those interested in reserving a room can call Andy Fobes at (504) 528-3339 or (504) 236-1354.

The Port of New Orleans is in the process of identifying sites for trailers that will be provided by FEMA for longer term housing of port workers and their families. “MARAD and the Department of Transportation have done a great job of providing for our short-term housing needs, and we couldn’t have jumpstarted our operations without them. Like many employers in New Orleans, we know that we must address the housing needs of our employees and their families in order to bring back our workers,” LaGrange said. “At this point, our entire economy revolves around our ability to bring families back.”

For updated information, please visit the port’s Web site at and choose the appropriate category listed beneath the “Katrina Recovery” heading.