Port of New Orleans still needs truckers

| 12/23/2005

Though it has resumed operations since being shut down by Hurricane Katrina earlier this year, the Port of New Orleans is still in critical need of truckers.

Before the hurricanes, the port saw about 1,000 truckers a day. In November, that number was down to about 150, according to a news release.

A spokeswoman for the port told Land Line that the situation has improved somewhat since then, but is still a dire one.

“We've gotten some responses,” she said. “But, we're still in need.”

The port, as well as many transportation firms in the area, is still offering free housing to the drivers. Some of the housing was aboard two ships docked along the Mississippi River that were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

However, one of those ships sailed out the week of Dec. 12, leaving just one for housing for truckers and longshoremen.

In November, the port complained that conditions aboard the ships were too crowded and that workers were forced to share close quarters, meaning those working different shifts risked waking their coworkers and prevented them from getting a decent night's sleep.

A port spokeswoman told Land Line that situation has been resolved and that the quarters have been spread out onboard the ship to allow for more privacy. In addition, some workers have found other accommodations, leaving more room aboard the ship.

The trucking companies, meanwhile, have their own accommodations apart from the ships.

Interested drivers are to contact the Louisiana Motor Transport Association at (225) 928-5682.

– By Terry Scruton, senior writer