San Diego veteran shapes the future for Port of New Orleans

It’s important to note that Christian gained 14 years of valuable experience with the Port of San Diego

Transportation in the News

STB issues follow-up letter to CSX over service-related concerns
AAR reports annual U.S. rail carload and intermodal gains for the week ending August 12
July Cass Freight Index Report points to annual gains and sequential declines
Truckload spot and contract rates seeing a summer bounce, says DAT
Food logistics enters new transformational stage
More Transportation News

Transportation Resource

Quarterly Air Cargo Update: Confidence on a Steady Climb
While the continued growth of air cargo demand is consistent with an improvement in world trade, analysts now contend that the pressure is on the market to improve its value proposition by accelerating process modernization and enhancing customer service.
All Resources
By ·

Brandy Christian began service as the president and CEO at the Port of New Orleans this past January after having spent two years as the port’s chief operating officer.

It’s important to note, however, that Christian gained 14 years of valuable experience with the Port of San Diego, a tenure that culminated in her role as vice president, strategy and business development. We recently caught up with her to learn how that valuable Pacific Rim experience influences her current management style.

Logistics Management: How has the experience you gained on the West Coast helped you in the Gulf?

Brandy Christian: The ports are similar in that both have breakbulk and container cargo operations, a robust and growing cruise business, large real estate portfolios—though New Orleans’ is more industrial than San Diego—and terminals that are located in the heart of urban areas alongside residential neighborhoods.

LM: Is there a distinct West Coast management style that translates well in New Orleans?

Christian: Effective management transcends geography. My style is straightforward and focused on succeeding with our mission as an economic engine. I value transparency and open, honest dialogue throughout the organization, and I’m working to ensure that employees have a clear path for development, both through the port’s organizational structure and with employee engagements efforts that will be implemented over the next few years. My management style reflects my background in quality management systems, which has been helpful throughout my career.

LM: You’ve been on the job for six months. What have you learned so far?

Christian: Quite a bit. The Port of New Orleans is well positioned geographically, and we’re also fortunate with diverse businesses. To make sure we take advantage of our opportunities, I initiated and prioritized a master planning process to guide our investments for the next 20-plus years. In a systematic, disciplined manner, we’re assessing our current business and identifying strategic opportunities. We have a tremendous opportunity to grow.

LM: What goals have been achieved so far, and what challenges are about to surface?

Christian: In addition to moving forward with a comprehensive master plan, which is already helping us identify growth opportunities, I have increased our visibility as a port. In meetings with carriers, shippers, current and potential customers, national, state, and local stakeholders, I’ve been demonstrating our commitment to forging strong partnerships for mutual economic benefit.

Internally, I implemented a reorganization of the port last fall for greater efficiency, functional alignment and to provide more opportunities for employees to grow within the organization.

In terms of challenges, we need to allocate our finances so we can capitalize on opportunities and make sure that our current assets are maintained appropriately. Going forward, a planned and disciplined approach is the only way to ensure long-standing issues don’t come as a surprise.

LM: Business with Cuba was one issue addressed at the recent “Cargo Connections” event. Can you speculate on that trade opportunity and others in the hemisphere?

Christian: Cuba was once New Orleans’ number one trading partner. The country still represents tremendous opportunity for the Port of New Orleans if the embargo is lifted—both for cargo and cruise. Currently, we ship frozen poultry to Cuba on a humanitarian basis.

We signed an memorandum of understanding with the National Port Administration of Cuba last October and have followed up by hosting delegations here in New Orleans and by visiting the Cuban Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C.

Overall, we’re well positioned both in the hemisphere and around the world as a gateway port. The Panama Canal expansion has been good for us so far, and we now have a direct Asian service with PEX3 and we’re seeing more Asian cargo as a result. Both shippers and carriers are looking at the Gulf due to the region’s robust export market and efficient access to the Midwest via rail.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Outsourced Transportation Management
All the benefits of owning a fleet without the headache of managing it.
Download Today!
From the August 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service excellence finish line ahead of their competitors? Our readers have cast their votes, and now it’s time to introduce this year’s winners of the coveted Quest for Quality Awards.
BMW Takes the Inland Road to Efficiency
Global Logistics: No Shortcuts to Security
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...
2017 Top 50 3PLs: Investment and Consolidation Maintain Traction
The trend set over the past few years for mergers and acquisitions has hardly subsided, and a fresh...

2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...