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Port of New Orleans Recovering

The Port of New Orleans, which is a major entry point for imported steel, natural rubber, and coffee, received its first post-storm ship on September 12, 2005, two weeks after Katrina made landfall.

Before Hurricane Katrina crippled the port, it was receiving about 40 ships per week. Three months later, approximately 20 ships are now calling. Port Director Gary LaGrange said he hopes to get the port back to about 70 percent of its previous volume by the second quarter of 2006.

There are many issues still facing the port's recovery, including those involving truck drivers and longshoremen. The port would like to get the cruise lines to start calling again, and one cruise ship did call New Orleans during the recently holidays. Many of the cruise lines have voiced their commitment to call New Orleans again. Approximately 700,000 cruise passengers arrive at Port New Orleans each year.

The port damage was estimated at $100 million, and Mr. LaGrange said that 30 percent of the port no longer exists. Furthermore, businesses that depend on the port have also suffered massive losses in revenue and import and export capabilities.

According to the American Association of Port Authorities, the Port of New Orleans is ranked as the fifth largest port in the United States in cargo tonnage handled. In 2005, 1904 ships called the port.