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Port NOLA President and CEO Highlights Record Traffic and Future Vision

Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) President and CEO

Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) President and CEO, and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corporation (NOPB) CEO, highlighted the successes of the agencies’ diverse business profile in 2019, and focused on the opportunities ahead at the annual State of the Port address today.

On the cruise side, Port NOLA’s business saw all-time high cruise volumes in fiscal year 2019 with 246 ship calls, 1.2 million passenger movements and river cruise business up 15%. Christian said the port on trend to surpass 1.4 million passenger movements in 2020.

“Cruise is our business that synergizes with our region’s other great economic engine, hospitality, and strengthens our shipping industry from pilots to tug operators to longshoremen,” she said.

Royal Caribbean will be homeported year-round in 2020 with the Majesty of the Seas, and New Orleans will welcome the Disney Wonder in February 2020. In addition, Carnival is bringing larger year-round vessels with the Valor and Glory, and Norwegian brought its largest ship to-date, the Breakaway.

On the river cruise side, business is also going well, as Port NOLA welcomed American Cruise Line’s new Harmony vessel in August 2019, and in 2020 it will welcome two new additional river cruise ships, American Cruise Line’s Jazz and American Queen’s Countess. On the paddle wheelers business side, the Louis Armstrong and the City of New Orleans will begin sailings soon.

Christian said this growing demand for cruising is set to trigger the need to invest in a new cruise terminal.

“As part of our Master Plan, we decided to take a step back to assess multiple locations that could meet the needs of the industry, but also could allow cruise to serve as a transformational economic development catalyst,” said Christian.“We are looking beyond just a third cruise terminal in isolation, but at how a terminal development can ignite further investment into a needed community and bring our hospitality industry’s reach into new areas of our jurisdiction.”

In terms of cargo, the port set new records as well, and the Army Corps of Engineers has authorized a 50-foot dredging of the Mississippi River.

Christian closed by stating that Port NOLA’s success is measured by jobs – the 21,700 Louisiana jobs supported by the port and its tenants.

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