The New Orleans region boasts five port authorities, including:
Together, these ports represent one of the largest port complexes in the world by cargo volume. Goods movement is enhanced by six class one railroads operating in the region and two interstates. In addition, serious efforts to finance mid-stream container on barge operations in the lower Mississippi River by private and public entities are under development.
The RPC lends assistance to the region’s port authorities by planning for the needs of the landside transportation network, which connects the port to regional, national, and international population centers. Congestion management, intelligent transportation systems and safety planning at the RPC support the network of ports in the SE Louisiana region. The Port of New Orleans represents the maritime industry’s interests on the RPC Transportation Policy Committee.
The Regional Planning Commission for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany Parishes and the Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency partnered to evaluate current and optimal conditions to leverage inland waterway container transport (IWCT) from Head of Passes at the Gulf of Mexico to St. Louis, Missouri along America's premier maritime corridor, the Mississippi River. Anticipation of a widened Panama Canal, rapidly growing highway and rail congestion, and a desire to foster regional economic development substantiated this analysis. The report looks at a variety of factors that impact a successful IWCT network including the viability of landside locations for container transfer, landside modal connections for collection and distribution of containers, in-bound and out-bound trade flows, the relationship of distance, time and frequency of movements to success as well the influence of hub consumption centers. A complex environment of external factors that hamper IWCT in America are discussed along with recommendations for policy and next steps to spur IWCT.