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Freight Economy

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FHWA's Roundtable on the Freight Economy: New Orleans, Louisiana

Date: March 7, 2016

Our Host: New Orleans Regional Planning Commission & Chamber of Commerce

Key Regional Transportation Facilities and Freight Hubs

HIGHWAYSI-10, I-12, I-55, I-59, I-310, US-190 and LA-21
RAILROADSCSX, NS, KSC, IC, UP and BNSF Intermodal Rail Yards
AIRPORTSNew Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport, Lakefront Airport
WATERBORNEDeep Water Ports: New Orleans, South Louisiana, St. Bernard and Plaquemines. Inland Waterborne: Mississippi River, Gulf Intercoastal Waterway and Inner Harbor Navigation Channel.
PIPELINEMileage of 21,555

Freight Facilities

Map of New Orlens showing intermodal terminals, intermodal connectors, national freight network roads and railroads.

Source: Source: FAF, New Orleans RPC and LA DOT

Stakeholders Represented by the Following:

What the future of freight will look like for the region:

Top 5 Commodities by Value 2040

Commodity Value (millions $) % of total
Fuel oils 37,942 13%
Gasoline 29,653 10%
Pharmaceuticals 28,666 10%
Crude petroleum 23,104 8%
Natural gas (coal-n.e.c.) 19,939 7%
All commodities 296,255 100%

Top 5 Commodities by Weight 2040

Commodity Tons (thousands) % of total
Fuel oils 77,643 17%
Cereal grains 70,909 15%
Natural gas (coal-n.e.c.) 63,421 14%
Crude petroleum 52,608 11%
Gasoline 44,684 10%
All commodities 467,715 100%

Trading Partners 2040

Outbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Louisiana 36,265 21%
Mississippi 18,619 11%
Texas 18,026 10%
Rest of Americas 16,919 10%
Eastern Asia 16,050 9%
Total outbound 173,730 100%

Inbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Illinois 33,104 17%
Missouri 29,466 15%
Louisiana 24,553 12%
Rest of Americas 14,286 7%
North Dakoda 10,867 5%
Total inbound 199,992 100%

*2012 from FAF4, 2040 from FAF3

Modal Freight Share by Tonnage, 2012 and 2040

2012: Truck 28.5%, Rail 5.2%, Water 28.3%, Air 0.0%, Multiple mode/Mail 4.8%, Pipeline 29.4%, and Other/unknown 3.8%.  2040: Truck 21.1%, Rail 5.4%, Water 37.5%, Air 0.0%, Multiple mode/Mail 5.6%, Pipeline 26.8%, and Other/unknown 3.8%.  Freight demand expected to grow from 441 million tons (2012) to 468 million tons (2040).

International freight activity is quite significant for the New Orleans region, contributing 30% by tonnage and 28% by value in 2012.

The Port of New Orleans is the only U.S. maritime port with connections to six Class I railroads—accounting for 446 miles of track that tie into the region.

Pipelines are a significant mode of transportation in the New Orleans region. Over 21,000 miles of pipeline carry nearly 30 percent of all freight (by tons) in the region.

The New Orleans region will see multimodal freight activity grow substantially - 79% of the tonnage will move by non-truck modes by 2040.

Rail activity is expected to grow remarkably in the region by 2040 growing to nearly 38 percent of the total modal share by tonnage. Notably, the Port of New Orleans received a $16.7M TIGER grant for improvements to its Rail Intermodal Yard. This $25M project is expected to finish March 2016.

Among the top commodities by value moved by truck are machinery, motor vehicles, base metals, food-related products, gasoline, electronics, basic chemicals, fuel oils, meat and seafood.

The Port of New Orleans is a world leader in coffee imports. It hosts 14 coffee warehouses and modern bulk processing operations. There are six roasting facilities in a 20 mile radius.

The Port of South Louisiana is the nation’s top port by tonnage, with more than 212 million tons annually, and handles 60% of all U.S. grain shipments.

Interstates 10, 12, 55 and 59 are intermodal connections help to make the New Orleans region an important center of freight-trucking activity.

International trade and logistics is one of the major industry sectors in the New Orleans region accounting for over 17,000 jobs.

Sources for Freight Facts: FAF, New Orleans RPC and LA DOT.

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Page last modified on October 14, 2016
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