Port NOLA’s container-on-barge traffic hits record high


The Port of New Orleans marks the highest volume of container moves by barge since the service’s inception in 2016.

Port NOLA's barge traffic hits record high
© Port NOLA

The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) recorded 20,500 container moves by barge in the calendar year 2023, marking the highest volume since the service’s inception in 2016 with the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and Ingram Marine Group.

The port said that the partnership represents the largest container-on-barge network in the U.S. with connectivity to the nation’s heartland.

Container-on-barge moves containers by water rather than by truck on roads to reduce air emissions; moving an average of 30,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) per year between New Orleans, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, Memphis and St. Louis.

“We are poised to expand this service even further in the coming years,” said Port NOLA President & CEO, Brandy D. Christian.

“This is one more example of Port NOLA working alongside our partners to provide innovative solutions for global supply chain disruptions while simultaneously honoring a commitment to sustainability.”

According to the port’s data, the service is estimated to have cut more than 1.3 million kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and saved more than 130,000 gallons of diesel fuel in calendar year 2023. Overall, since 2016, the accumulated (CO2) emissions reduction is estimated at over 10.4. million kg.

 “Our recent creation of Ingram Infrastructure Group, fueled in part by our acquisition of SCF, has greatly increased our presence in the container-on-barge market, as well as our material handling capabilities and ability to provide end-to-end supply chain solutions for our customers,” said Ingram Marine Group President and CEO John Roberts.

“As such, we are positioned to build on the incredible success of 2023 in partnership with the Port of New Orleans and Ports America, as well as carriers and shippers, and look forward to continuing our container-on-barge services with them.”

Like the Uptown Napoleon Container Terminal, Port NOLA’s downriver container terminal, the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT), will also be equipped to provide container-on-barge services, the port authority added. LIT will allow the container-on-barge to expand with a dedicated berth space designed for this service.

LIT, currently in the design and permitting phase, will also incorporate shore power, allowing vessels to plug in at the dock, eliminating the need to run diesel engines. This can cut local vessel emissions by up to 98%. Operators also plan to invest in an electrified equipment fleet, further reducing local emissions impacts.

Earlier this year, Port NOLA announced that it has been awarded an additional USD 226.2 million in federal grant dollars to assist in building the Louisiana International Terminal.

In addition, the U.S. DOT recently awarded Port NOLA USD 73.77 million through its MEGA Grant program, totaling USD 300 million in federal grant dollars to support the first construction phase of the $1.8 billion container terminal.

New Jersey-based Ports America, one of North America’s largest marine terminal operators, and Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, through its terminal development and investment arm Terminal Investment Limited (TiL), have also committed USD 800 million toward the project.

Construction is slated to begin in 2025 and the first berth to open in 2028.