St. Louis Regional Freightway, New Orleans Port Sign MoU

Brandy D. Christian (Right), President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, and John M. Nations, President and CEO of Bi-State Development, sign an MOU Feb. 23, 2017 at the Port Administration building between the Port and the St. Louis Freightway. Photo Port of New Orleans

By Joseph R. Fonseca

The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans
and the St. Louis Regional Freightway today entered into a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to exchange market and
operational information with the goal of growing trade and
building upon existing and new business relationships between the
two regions and critical ports. The agreement also calls for
joint marketing efforts to meet those objectives.


The MOU is the culmination of discussions begun during a
September 2016 visit to St. Louis by top officials for the Port
of New Orleans. At that time, it became evident that it would be
mutually beneficial to foster even greater collaboration and
leverage the intermodal connectivity between the Port of New
Orleans and the St. Louis region.

"The Port of New Orleans historically has strong ties to business
and industry via the St. Louis corridor," said Brandy Christian,
President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. "Located in the
Lower Mississippi River system and served by all six Class 1
railroads and the interstate highway system, Port NOLA is the
most intermodal port in the nation. Today's agreement solidifies
our efforts to work with our inland neighbors to develop new
opportunities and optimize our connectivity."

The MOU was signed today by Christian and representatives of the
St. Louis Regional Freightway, an enterprise of Bi-State
Development (BSD). Signing the agreement were BSD President and
Chief Executive Officer John M. Nations, St. Louis Regional
Freightway Executive Director Mary C. Lamie; and representatives
from each of the three regional ports, Susan Taylor, Director,
Port Business Development, St. Louis Development Corporation;
Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director, America's Central Port;
and Ed Weilbacher, General Manager, Kaskaskia Regional Port
District. They travelled to New Orleans this week as part of a
11-member delegation from Illinois and Missouri that also
included Rick Barbee, Vice President Marketing, SCF Marine;
Elizabeth Triggs, Business Development Analyst, Ingram Barge
Company; Asim Raza, Chief Legal Officer, Director of Real Estate
and Marketing, Terminal Railroad; and consultant Masao Nishi,
Principal, M. Nishi Strategic Advisory.

"This agreement, and the collaborative partnership it is founded
on, will go a long way toward helping coordinate the Port of New
Orleans' supply chain with our supply chain and enhancing the St.
Louis region's ability to move freight up and down the
Mississippi River for the entire nation," said Lamie. "We now
have a framework to work more closely together to generate new
business activity that will help accelerate the present level of
economic growth by increasing revenues to the Port of New Orleans
and optimizing the St. Louis region's freight network."

The Port of New Orleans is served by the Mississippi River and
its tributaries, which combined offer 14,500 miles of navigable
waterways. With three inland ports, including the nation's third
and eighth largest inland ports, the St. Louis region holds an
enviable position within that inland waterway system,
strategically located in the heart of the nation at the
northernmost ice-free and lock-free point on the Mississippi
River.

At the core of the MOU is the shared recognition that continued
growth at the Port of New Orleans and future growth of freight
movement through various ports in the bi-state St. Louis region,
are intrinsically connected, with 500 million tons of cargo being
handled by ports on the Lower Mississippi River annually.

Lamie has been working with the team at the Port of New Orleans
over the past several months to finalize the details of the MOU,
but there was agreement from the outset that branding and jointly
marketing the St. Louis region's multimodal assets, the Port of
New Orleans multimodal assets and the St. Louis region's direct
connection to the Port of New Orleans, would be key components.
Aside from its significant inland ports, among the other assets
the St. Louis region offers are six Class I railroads with
international market access (the same six that also operate at
Port of New Orleans), two international cargo airports, two
foreign trade zones and four interstates that provide national
access.

Nations commented on the importance of the MOU for the St. Louis
Regional Freightway, which is the newest BSD enterprise. "We
believe the agreement entered into this week will stand as one of
the most significant accomplishments of The Freightway due to the
far-reaching positive impact it will have for the region and the
nation," Nations said. "With a projected 40 percent growth in
freight volume over the next 30 years, the actions we take today
are laying the groundwork for our region to be a premier gateway
for the freight community in the 21st century."

Among the opportunities the St. Louis Regional Freightway hopes
to swiftly capitalize on are new container-on-barge services. The
strengthened relationship fostered by the MOU should help to
ensure that as growth continues at the Port of New Orleans, it
triggers growth on the inland waterways, and specifically in the
St. Louis region where it has been demonstrated that the ports
can handle containerized freight shipments.

The bi-state area freight group visited the Seacor AMH Terminal
located within the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on
February 22 to tour container-on-barge loading and to learn more
about Seacor AMH operations which includes terminal services in
the St. Louis area. The delegation also met with Mediterranean
Shipping Company (MSC) representatives in Metairie, La., to gain
insight into its freight movement through the Port of New
Orleans.

Prior to signing the MOU, the delegation also met with the U.S.
Coast Guard to better understand its operations and coordinated
efforts with other governmental agencies in New Orleans and Baton
Rouge. Following the MOU signing, the delegation toured the Port
of New Orleans aboard its Gen. Kelley fireboat.

Feb 24, 2017

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