Breakbulk steel shipments, containerized moves of chemicals and dry bulk transport of agricultural goods have a lot in common, according to organizers of the eighth annual Critical Commodities Conference, slated for April 12-14 in New Orleans.

“When you put these people all together in a room, you find there are quite a few common denominators,” said Robert M. Landry, chief commercial officer of the Port of New Orleans, which is presenting the event in conjunction with the American Institute for International Steel. “It seems everyone is facing capacity issues, equipment issues, infrastructure issues and economic issues, to name a few.”

These and other topics are on the agenda for the conference, which has grown from a first-year gathering of about 100 to now drawing between 400 and 500 industry leaders.

“This conference basically addresses the movement of commodities that are essential for everyday life,” Landry said. “Over the years, we’ve seen how the fluidity of knowledge in our industry can be improved through such a conference.”

Robert M. Landry, chief commercial officer of the Port of New Orleans, is enthused about the eighth annual Critical Commodities Conference.
Robert M. Landry, chief commercial officer of the Port of New Orleans, is enthused about the eighth annual Critical Commodities Conference.

Keynote speakers are scheduled to include John Orr, senior vice president for the Southern Region of the Canadian National Railway Co.; Ladd R. Hall, executive vice president of flat-rolled products at Nucor Corp.; and Stewart Serpas, supply chain director at the Dow Chemical Co. Attendees are anticipated to come from a broad spectrum of sectors, including barge lines, logistics companies, port authorities and government agencies, producers, railroads, shippers, shipping lines, terminal operators, transloaders and warehousers, and truck lines.

For the first time, the Critical Commodities Conference is to include a Fulton Alley Experience, with games such as speed bowling and other interactive pursuits. And, for those with an interest in more traditional conference sports, the event is slated to tee off on the morning of Tuesday, April 12, with a golf tourney on the acclaimed Audubon Park Golf Course.

After the golf tournament awards luncheon and before the Tuesday evening opening reception, the Port of New Orleans looks to host the dedication of its Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal.

Top-level sponsors of the Critical Commodities Conference include Cooper/T. Smith Corp. and the Canadian National Railway Co., as well as Norfolk Southern Corp. and the Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Sponsors include the Port of New Orleans, Transportation Consultants Inc., the Jones Walker law firm, Ozburn-Hessey Logtistics LLC, the Kearney Companies Inc., Seacor AMH LLC, Plaquemines Port, Coastal Cargo Corp., Kinder Morgan, Ports America, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, Grieg Star Shipping, IBERIABANK and the law firm of Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith, as well as Revelle Shipping Agency Inc., Kurt Orban Partners, the law firm of Mouledoux Bland Legrand & Brackett, Stolthaven New Orleans LLC, Law Offices of Steven W. Baker and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal.

Those seeking more information are encouraged to visit www.criticalcommoditiesconference.com on the Web.