Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
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47 Summer 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings reducing the overall carbon footprint. The 12-acre ter- minal, spurred by a $16.7 million Transportation Invest- ment Generating Economic Recovery grant, began operation in March 2016. All of these projects enhance efficiencies, expand capacity, and create new, high-pay- ing maritime jobs in the region. Deepening the Mississippi River In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is updating a study on the feasibility of deepening the Mississippi River from its current 45-foot channel to 50 feet — the controlling draft of the expanded Panama Canal locks. While five feet of water doesn't sound like very much, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that even an inch means a lot to the shipping community. In fact, it could mean the difference between making and losing money. For example, for each inch of additional draft, an oceangoing ship could load 9,600 more laptop computers; 1,540 more 55-inch televisions; 36 more tractors; or 358,000 more pounds of wheat. Imagine what 60 inches would produce! 1 In 1985, Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorized a deepening study for the Mississippi River to deepen it from its then-40-foot draft to 55 feet. Work pro- gressed through the years to a 45-foot minimum draft, but never went deeper. Now, as the Panama Canal expands and deepens its locks to 50 feet, ports throughout the Northern Hemisphere are striving to reach that 50-foot draft number. In 2013, as part of a coalition, the Port of New Orleans commissioned a study to update the economic benefits of deepening the river to 50 feet. That study determined that a 50-foot minimum channel for the lower Mississippi River would add $11.49 billion in U.S. production; 17,000 new jobs; $849 million in increased income; and result in an $89.40-to- $1 benefit-to-cost ratio. 2 A completed draft of the study is due in the fall of 2016, with a finalized report expected in 2017. In the meantime, industry officials and political leaders are already working to secure the estimated $150 million needed for Louisiana's share of the construction cost. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with its local sponsor, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, launched a re-evaluation study to esti- mate the transportation cost savings and highest net ben- efits derived from increasing the Mississippi River's draft to 50 feet. Further, deepening the river could be done in phases, as deepening Southwest Pass alone could open more than half of the lower Mississippi River to a 50-foot channel. Cruising Industry While the Port of New Orleans is a gateway to global com- merce, the port's cruise and industrial properties business segments are also growing at a steady pace. The port set a goal to surpass the 1-million-passenger mark a few years ago, and, thanks to valued cruise partners, a strong marketing effort, and continued investment into first- class facilities, exceeded that goal in 2014 and 2015 as new and larger ships found a home port in the Crescent City. Those figures could rise again, as Carnival Cruise Lines increased its capacity for its four- and five-day year-round itineraries by 34 percent. Port officials will also welcome 19 cruise ship ports of call to New Orleans from seven dif- ferent ships and five cruise lines over the next year. To handle this new business and set a new cruise passen- ger "high-water" mark, the Port of New Orleans expects to complete a third cruise terminal at Poland Avenue in late 2017. This project will free berthing space for additional homeported cruise ships and allow port officials to aggres- sively market New Orleans as a unique port of call. River cruising is also growing in New Orleans, as American Cruise Line added a new sternwheeler — the America — to its fleet homeported in New Orleans, and Viking River Cruises plans to establish its first North American homeport in New Orleans. A container ship berthed at the Port of New Orleans Napoleon Avenue container terminal, where new shipping services have led to record volumes. Photo courtesy of the Port of New Orleans.