General cargo at the Port of New Orleans totaled 7.55 million tons in 2012, 8.6 percent more than in 2011.
Volume was boosted by steel imports, which were 1.92 million tons in 2012, 38 percent more than the 1.39 million tons handled in 2011.
Other top performing commodities included chemical exports, which rose 5.4 percent to 1.75 million tons and poultry and other agriculture exports, which grew by 22.8 percent to 496,000 tons.
“2012 proved to be a marquee year overall for the Port of New Orleans,” said Port President and Chief Executive Officer Gary LaGrange. “We’re seeing the national economy steadily recover and, hopefully, calmer seas ahead for the international economy.”
The port said completion of several cargo projects in 2012 should pay big dividends. These include two two post-Panamax gantry cranes, the new 40,000 square-foot Riverfront Cold Storage Facility and expanded and improved marshalling yards at several wharfs.
While break-bulk cargo grew, containerized cargo volumes were 463,147 TEUs in 2012, down 2.9 percent from 2011. Containerized cargo tonnage was flat at 4.1 million tons, which LaGrange attributed to the uncertain global economic climate.
“The Port of New Orleans’ main trading partner is Europe and many European nations are struggling right now and not restocking inventories as quickly as in years past,” LaGrange said. “Despite that, we are working diligently to grow new markets and build upon successful ones to deliver benefits to all of our customers and tenants.” - Chris Dupin