The Ports of New Orleans


The New Orleans port complex was vital. The Port of South Louisiana is the largest port in the United States by tonnage, and the fifth-largest in the world. Katrina’s strike on New Orleans will have staggering national and global effects.

New Orleans: Gateway to the world

  • The New Orleans port accounts for 20 percent of U.S. export and import trade.
  • New Orleans port users had direct and economical rail access to or from anywhere in the country, as it was the only deepwater port in the United States served by six class-one railroads.
  • New Orleans port facilities are located near the mouth of the Mississippi River, the world’s busiest waterway: More than 6,000 ocean-going vessels move through New Orleans on the river every year. Hailed as America’s most intermodal port, it is served by 16 barge lines, 50 ocean carriers and 75 truck lines.
  • Fixing the Port

  • Buildings and cranes need repairs.
  • Infrastructure leading to the port could take years to rebuild.
  • Katrina has rendered the port area uninhabited, and potentially uninhabitable, significantly reducing the usefulness of the Mississippi River.
  • Port officials say it may be six months before the port is fully operational.