The Southeastern Gateway to America’s Economic Growth

The Port of New Orleans is a major economic engine in Louisiana and beyond. With help from JPMorganChase, this crucial piece of American infrastructure is expanding—and creating a ripple effect that will lead to more jobs and stronger communities.

May 31, 2024

Our nation’s ports play a vital role in the U.S. economy, moving goods into, out of and around the country. In fact, over 95 percent of the cargo entering the country arrives by ship, and 40 percent of all U.S. goods pass through a port.

The Port of New Orleans, located along the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico, plays an essential part in shipping goods to communities and businesses across the nation and around the world.

The deepwater port has access to 30-plus major inland hubs such as Memphis and Chicago via 14,500 miles of waterways, six Class I railroads and numerous interstate roadways. With this kind of connectivity, the Port is a critical piece of infrastructure.

But more than that, it’s one of the region’s largest employers, generating more than $100 million in revenue annually through its four lines of business—cargo, rail, cruise and industrial real estate. Port-related industries generate 1 in 5 jobs in Louisiana and more than $600 million in wages every year.

“People see the ships on the river, but there’s so much going on behind the scenes to keep the economy running,” says New Orleans native Ronald Wendel Jr., the Acting President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans and the Acting CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. “Coffee, rubber and steel are just some of the products that pass through here. Port and rail workers come to work every day to make sure you’re getting your morning coffee and manufacturers have parts to build your car.”

Fueling the Economy

JPMorganChase facilitates the growth of vital infrastructure such as the Port of New Orleans to help strengthen the health, stability and vibrancy of communities.

Wendel has built a strong relationship with Greg Rattler, a JPMorganChase banker who has helped him find opportunities to manage port operations more efficiently. The company has been working with the port for decades.

“JPMorganChase has been a really big part of driving our business and momentum forward. Greg and I have a great relationship,” Wendel says. “Beyond treasury management, helping us streamline transactions and providing financing for our expansion, Greg’s often here with us looking at what we can do to plan for the future and deliver economic prosperity for the region and the state.”

In 2018, the port acquired the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. JPMorganChase helped facilitate the port’s operation of the railroad’s banking activities, ensuring the railway continued without disruption during the transition. Now, the port manages an extensive network beyond the waterways, creating an integrated supply chain hub to serve every major North American market.

Growing for the Future

Rattler has also supported the port’s efforts to remain competitive by helping it increase its shipping capacity. In 2021, JPMorganChase provided $30 million to finance four 100-foot container cranes that allow the port to offload larger ships more efficiently. The new cranes also free up smaller cranes to service barges bringing containers from further up the river, which helps reduce truck traffic on congested highways.

Looking forward, the port is embarking on one of its largest projects yet—the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT). The $1.8 billion container terminal project in St. Bernard Parish will create more than 18,000 new direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana and help drive economic growth in the region.

The project also will allow the port to serve larger ships, positioning Louisiana as the premier Gulf Coast gateway to import goods and move U.S. products around the world. JPMorganChase also assisted in this expansion, providing the port $30 million to finance land acquisition for LIT. Construction on this multi-year project is expected to begin in 2025.

“Expanding the Port of New Orleans’ capacity and improving its infrastructure will have a ripple effect that reaches far beyond Louisiana,” Rattler says. “The national economy is stronger when our ports are operating efficiently.”

Learn how JPMorganChase is powering economic growth through business and community investments.

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