Chiquita Brands represents Port of New Orleans’ biggest container shipping win with a project that will increase container volume by roughly 15 percent and create 270 to 350 new jobs in New Orleans.
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is relocating its operations from the Port of Gulfport in Mississippi to the Port of New Orleans. Chiquita plans to ship 60,000 to 78,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs, per year at the Port of New Orleans, representing a roughly 15 percent increase in current container volumes there.
The company’s shipping operations will return to New Orleans after a nearly 40-year hiatus. The company, known as United Brands in the 1970s, relocated its shipping operations from the Port of New Orleans to the Port of Gulfport in the mid-1970s after more than seven decades of calling at the Port of New Orleans.
An LSU economic impact study suggests the project will result in approximately 270 to 350 new permanent jobs in New Orleans – based upon the range of TEUs shipped – as well as an increase in total economic output of $373 million to $485 million over the next 10 years.
The project will strengthen both the state’s and the New Orleans port’s ties to Central America. It will result in improved ocean transportation to those countries, and it helps further establish New Orleans as one of the premier ports for handling temperature-sensitive cargo. Additionally, the new ocean service will benefit shippers looking to export more cargo to Central America.
To secure the project, the State of Louisiana will provide Chiquita a performance-based incentive of $18.55 per TEU (total value of $1.11 million to 1.45 million annually) to offset increased shipping and handling costs at the Port of New Orleans, and will invest $2.2 million in a portowned distribution/ripening facility to be leased to Chiquita. The Port of New Orleans will invest $2.0 million for refrigerated-container electrical infrastructure and rehabilitation of a container freight warehouse to accommodate the project.
The company shipments in New Orleans are expected to begin by the first quarter of 2015.
May 15, 2014