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The U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Mississippi River Friday morning (Aug. 31, 2012) with only a few restrictions, allowing the Carnival Elation cruise ship to return to the Port of New Orleans’ Erato Street Cruise Terminal.
Coast Guard officials allowed cargo vessels on a prioritized basis to begin moving Friday, as well.
Both break-bulk and container operations resumed at Port of New Orleans terminals.
Port terminals have been bustling as terminal operators handle a backlog of vessels. A total of 23 ships, 12 container vessels, nine break-bulk cargo vessels and two cruise ships are scheduled at Port docks by Sept. 4, 2012.
“We understand there are a lot of commercial activities that go into the decisions cargo carriers must make in these situations and we appreciate their patience during adverse times and their commitment to the Port of New Orleans,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange.
Port staff fanned across Port terminals and properties on Aug. 30, 2012 reporting no flooding and very minimal wind damage to facilities, but substantial wind-blown damage to the Port’s administrative building.
“We were very fortunate during this entire storm event,” LaGrange said. “Again we appreciate the overwhelming support from our customers and colleagues around the nation and the world and our staff is working tirelessly to ensure operations are back to normal as soon as possible.”
Entergy restored power to the Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal by 7 p.m. Sept. 1 in time for terminal operators to begin unloading and loading two container ships last night and this morning.
“Thanks to Entergy restoring power last night, our terminal operators were able to work these container vessels as scheduled,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “Each vessel call represents thousands of man hours that provide hundreds of jobs. Our people were ready to get back to work and the International Longshoremen’s Association did an outstanding job of providing the needed labor. I’m pleased to say the Port of New Orleans is back to business as usual.”
In addition to the container vessels, terminal operator Ports America continues to work the 590-foot Atlantic Pearl and the 557-foot Szymanowski at the Nashville Avenue Terminal and Pacorini Global began working the 618-foot Caledonia yesterday at the Alabo Street Wharf. Other terminal operators, such as Coastal Cargo Co., Empire Stevedoring and New Orleans Cold Storage will resume regular schedules following the Labor Day holiday.
Industrial and cargo tenants along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal also reported minimal damage and no flooding as a result of Hurricane Isaac. Due to the Corps of Engineers flood protection system – the new Seabrook Floodgate Structure and the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, which were both closed for the first time – water levels rose to only 3.5 feet above sea level within the Inner Harbor. That is in stark contrast to the more than 12-foot water levels the Inner Harbor endured in past storms, such as Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Katrina in 2008 and 2005 respectively.
“The U.S. Army Corps’ flood protection system worked remarkably well, keeping industrial assets and Port tenant’s facilities safe and protecting life and property throughout Eastern New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward,” LaGrange said.