Located at the mouth of Mississippi River, the Port of New Orleans is America s gateway to the global market. New Orleans has been a center for international trade since 1718 when the French founded it. Today, the Port is at the center of the world s busiest port complex Louisiana s Lower Mississippi River. Its proximity to the American Midwest via a 14,500-mile inland waterway system makes New Orleans the port of choice for the movement of cargoes such as steel, grain, containers and manufactured goods. It is the only deepwater port in the United States served by six class one railroads. This gives port users direct and economical rail service to or from anywhere in the country. New Orleans is one of America s leading general cargo ports. A productive and efficient private maritime industry has helped produce impressive results, including the United States top market share for import steel, natural rubber, plywood and coffee.