The Port of New Orleans is marking the addition of two new massive cranes to handle container cargo. Governor Bobby Jindal stopped by to underline the state commitment to business investment.
Governor Jindal was more than a half hour late to the ceremony marking the cranes going online. But he was somewhat pleased because he’d been stuck behind a train inside the port – evidence he says that business must be good.
“We are now home to five of the nation’s largest ports. Our port has been an important part of our history, but it’s also a very, very important part of our future. This port not only brings thousands of direct jobs, also tens of thousands of indirect jobs as manufacturers and others want to be located here in Louisiana thanks to our great port infrastructure.”
The $36 million project paid for the two cranes and the expansion of the container yard. Officials say they expect 495 new jobs to come from the investment. Port President Gary LaGrange says business has gone up – even during some tough times - when looking at measurements called TEUs, for twenty-foot equivalency units.
“Two years ago the productivity of this container terminal was about 250,000 TEUs a year. It has increased in the middle of a global recession by 46 percent in the last two years.”
The port is expecting an increase in container cargo shipments when the expanded Panama Canal opens in 2014.