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With the Mississippi River moving about 500 million tons of cargo each year – including chemicals, coal, timber, iron, steel and more than half of the nation’s grain exports, the Port of New Orleans is America’s gateway to the global market.

New Orleans has been a center for international trade since 1718 when it was founded by the French. Today, the Port of New Orleans is at the center of the world’s busiest port complex — Louisiana’s Lower Mississippi River. Its proximity to the American Midwest via a 14,500-mile inland waterway system makes New Orleans the port of choice for the movement of cargoes.

The Port of New Orleans is the only deepwater port in the United States served by six class one railroads. This gives port users direct and economical rail service to or from anywhere in the country.

New Orleans is one of America’s leading general cargo ports. A productive and efficient private maritime industry has helped produce impressive results, including the USA’s top market share for import steel, natural rubber, plywood and coffee.

In the past 10 years, the Port of New Orleans has invested more than $400 million in new state-of-the-art facilities. Improved breakbulk and container terminals feature new multipurpose cranes, expanded marshalling yards and a new roadway to handle truck traffic. The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans is committed to building a port that will serve the needs of the global marketplace well into the new century.