International river traffic on upswing (1 Viewer)

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It's another sign of Katrina recovery
Wednesday, January 09, 2008 By Jen DeGregorio


More deep-draft cargo ships entered the Mississippi River last year than the year before, another sign that south Louisiana's economy is recovering from Hurricane Katrina, according to data released Tuesday by the nonprofit New Orleans Board of Trade.

Last year, 5,442 vessels arrived at Louisiana ports along the Mississippi, compared with 5,103 vessels in 2006. Shipping traffic hit a longtime low point after the storm, with just 4,950 vessel arrivals recorded for 2005.

The Board of Trade does not track the number of vessels that enter individual Louisiana ports, including the Port of New Orleans.

"We have definitely recovered from Katrina," said Brett Bourgeois, executive director of the Board of Trade. "Hopefully, it will continue to grow."

It is difficult to draw a direct correlation between vessel arrivals and increased trade for Louisiana ports, particularly because modern ships are getting larger and can carry more cargo in fewer trips. However, more ships "is a good sign," said Eugene Schreiber, director of the World Trade Center of New Orleans.

Commerce improved for Louisiana on a number of fronts last year. Louisiana exports had a banner year in 2006, with a value of $23.5 billion, according to the World Trade Center. The trend appeared to continue through 2007, with exports for the first nine months of the year valued at $20.4 billion, up more than 22 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2006.

The World Trade Center could not provide data for the last three months of 2007, but Schreiber expects strong national demand for oil and gas to buoy exports through the last quarter of the year.


http://www.nola.com/business/t-p/index.ssf?/base/money-1/1199859622289430.xml&coll=1
 

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