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The Port of New Orleans will take over the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, while in exchange the railroad will transfer the Governor Nicholls Street and Esplanade Avenue wharves to the city of New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced last week.The arrangement is designed to stimulate economic growth of the port and local industries. The Public Belt will continue to serve the port, city and port officials said in a press release.The transfer of the wharves will provide contiguous public access to the Mississippi River from Crescent Park to Spanish Plaza. "It is clear that the Public Belt Railroad is a critical element of the port's competitive advantage, which means it is critical for the future growth potential in trade and commerce and the long-term economic success of the city," said Landrieu."Aligning the Public Belt with the Port gives us long-term stability and renewed momentum to pursue our growth potential while capitalizing on the synergies between us," said Douglas Campbell, chief executive officer of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.Also under the agreement:• the port will relocate the existing tenant at the Governor Nicholls Street and Esplanade Avenue wharves to a location suited for their projected long-term growth;• the port will recognize the rights of the employees of the Public Belt system under existing contracts; and• the city, port and Public Belt will work together on the legal and regulatory approvals necessary to finalize the transfer of assets.
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