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Port of New Orleans and the MTS-ISAC Form the Lower Mississippi River Information Exchange

MTS-ISAC Services Enhancement Aims to Reduce Local Ecosystem Cyber Risk


The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) and the Maritime Transportation System Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MTS-ISAC) have partnered to form the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) Information Exchange for maritime critical infrastructure stakeholders. The LMR Information Exchange brings together ports, port tenants, vessel operators, rail and intermodal, key suppliers and vendors, and local public sector organizations to collaborate and proactively address cybersecurity risk. The MTS-ISAC’s “work locally and connect globally” approach closely aligns with the way the maritime sector has evolved over time. The LMR Information Exchange enables increased collaboration between LMR organizations while connecting them to other MTS stakeholders from across the U.S. and around the globe.

Port NOLA, an MTS-ISAC founding member, generates $100 million in revenue annually through four lines of business – cargo, rail, industrial real estate, and cruises. New Orleans is the sixth largest cruise port in the U.S. and the port operates the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. According to the U.S. National Park Service, sixty percent of all grain exported from the U.S. is shipped on the Mississippi River along with petroleum and petroleum products, iron and steel, grain, rubber, paper, wood, coffee, coal, chemicals, and edible oils.

David Cordell, CIO for the Port of New Orleans, strongly advocates this approach, “The Lower Mississippi River community has a long, successful history of working together to respond to physical and weather-related events. During 2020, there were numerous storms that impacted the area. Regardless of the source, any incident on the LMR can negatively impact the entire supply chain, so it’s critical to safety, security, and business operations continuity that we work together and aggressively to address cyber risks and threats to our respective organizations and the region. Port NOLA is committed to working with our port partners, other LMR stakeholders, and the MTS-ISAC’s trusted community, and we encourage other MTS critical infrastructure stakeholders to consider adopting the MTS-ISAC’s approach to information exchange.”

“Protecting the LMR waterway is critical from an economic and regional security perspective, so working together may seem intuitive. However, many of the maritime critical infrastructure stakeholders along the LMR have competitive business operations, so the MTS-ISAC serves as the trusted agent for anonymized, localized cybersecurity information exchange efforts”, adds Christy Coffey, VP of Operations for the MTS-ISAC. “Our mission is to provide actionable, relevant, and timely cyber threat intelligence, and having a robust LMR Information Exchange facilitates rapid dissemination to the localized set of engaged stakeholders. We are grateful for the continued leadership that Port NOLA provides; our entire maritime community benefits.”

The MTS-ISAC, a nonprofit formed in February 2020, has seen rapid adoption of its Cybersecurity Information Sharing Services. While the Port of New Orleans was the first to rollout an Information Exchange, the MTS-ISAC is actively operationalizing multiple information sharing communities across the U.S. and internationally in 2021.

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