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A proposed $1bn expansion of the port of New Orleans will be key to the city's economic rebound, says Gary LaGrange, the port's president and CEO. "It's critical for the entire recovery of the city and greater New Orleans area. If the port doesn't recover and can't compete, New Orleans loses and Louisiana loses," he says.
Hurricane Katrina battered the port in 2005, causing roughly $165mn in damages, said Chris Bonura, a port spokesman. The port has collected $42mn of that claim and is in settlement negotiations for the rest, he said. If the first phase of the master plan is completed, Bonura said, the container terminal would triple its capacity by 2012, in time for the widening of the Panama Canal, scheduled to be completed by 2014.
The plan includes a $478mn expansion to the port's container cargo terminal, a $22.5mn expansion of the port's cruise ship terminals and a $75mn expansion of its break-bulk facility.
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