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The Port of New Orleans moved more containers in 2018 than at any time in its history, port officials announced yesterday.The port handled 591,253 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year, a 12.3 percent increase over the TEUs moved in 2017. The record marked the fifth consecutive year that the port surpassed the half-million TEU-mark at its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, which is operated by New Orleans Terminal and Ports America."The expansion of the Panama Canal and growth in containerized exports, namely resin and frozen poultry, have buoyed [our] containerized cargo to record levels. In addition, loaded imported containers rose 7 percent, which continues to be a focus of [our] marketing efforts," said Brandy Christian, the port's president and chief executive officer. Port officials anticipate even more growth, "as direct all-water carrier services to Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean attract larger vessels," Christian added.In October 2018, the Pusan C — a 9,500-TEU vessel operated by Marseille, France-based ocean carrier CMA CGM — marked the largest container ship to ever call on the port.The port also is growing the nation’s largest container-on-barge service in partnership with the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and operator SEACOR AMH, according to New Orleans port officials. Last year, that service moved 26,759 TEUs by barge, up 58 percent year over year. The service repositions containers from Memphis, Tennessee, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they are loaded with plastic resins and shipped by barge to the New Orleans port to be loaded onto container ships for export to global markets.Also, the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, which the port acquired in 2018, has been a "crucial element" of the port's success in 2018, said Christian."Our industry partners and Class I railroads are working collaboratively on the most efficient, responsible and vibrant gateway possible," Christian said. "In addition to the Kansas City Southern service into Dallas-Fort Worth, we anticipate launching new intermodal services soon."