Increased congestion on the highways coupled with a high volume of container traffic led the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and the Port of New Orleans to look to inland water transportation to move cargo. The two ports are coordinating their efforts to bring a container on barge service to the Lower Mississippi River.
Many of the major exporters located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans expect to see big increases in volumes over the next few years. Getting this cargo to a port of exit is a big concern, as a shortage of truck drivers and already congested highways combine to make this task more difficult. To address the issue, containers can be loaded on river barges at the Port of Baton Rouge for transit to the Port of New Orleans. Facilities at both ports are ready to begin operations, and both manufacturers and shipping lines have expressed their willingness to participate. Operation is expected to begin by the end of 2015. Moving freight by water is an increasingly sustainable option that can transfer some of the burden from our maxed-out interstate highway system to our under-utilized marine “superhighways”.