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Port of New Orleans appoints new acting president and CEO

The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has formally confirmed that Ronald J. Wendel Jr., currently serving as Port NOLA’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will be acting president and CEO of Port NOLA and acting CEO of New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB), a Class III railroad and a subsidiary of Port NOLA.

Wendel will assume his new roles in June, following the departure of the current president and CEO, Brandy Christian, who is set to become the CEO of Patriot Rail Company.

Since joining Port NOLA in 2015, Wendel has gained extensive experience and is well-prepared to ensure the continuity of key strategic initiatives, such as the US$1.8 billion Louisiana International Terminal project.

"The Port NOLA Board and its executive team are focused on assuring a smooth and transparent process to maintain operational continuity during this leadership transition period. We are confident in Wendel’s experience and welcome the opportunity to work alongside him and the Port NOLA / NOPB teams to drive growth and success. Simultaneously, the Board is committed to ensuring a thoughtful process for determining the permanent President and CEO of Port NOLA and CEO of NOPB," stated Walter Leger, board chairman.

Furthermore, Wendel has played a crucial role in securing US$800 million in commitments from future private operators of the Louisiana International Terminal, Ports America and Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), the investment arm of MSC. He has been a central figure in commercial negotiations across Port NOLA and NOPB’s lines of business.

Additionally, Wendel led efforts to improve Port NOLA’s bond rating and facilitated the financing of over US$260 million in public and private placement bonds to support the Capital Investment Program, including the US$140 million expansion of the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.

"We are grateful for Brandy Christian’s visionary leadership and contributions to Port NOLA and NOPB throughout her tenure, which have set the stage for continued progress and success. I am proud to have been part of the management team that Brandy developed over the past nine years and even more humbled for the opportunity to work alongside our staff and stakeholders in a new role to drive innovation, enhance efficiency, and foster sustainable growth," Ronald Wendel Jr. stated.

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