Tonnage down in February at Oklahoma shipping port

CATOOSA, Oklahoma — The Tulsa Port of Catoosa says outbound shipping tonnage decreased slightly in February from the month before.

Cargo that entered or left the northeastern Oklahoma port in February totaled 222,367 tons. Officials say the outbound total was slightly lower than in January because fewer barges of soy products left the facility.
John Goetting, manager of Gavilon Grain at the port, says an increase in exports of soybeans from South America reduced demand for shipments from the Port. Goetting says the forecast for outbound soybeans in March is also lower.
The port must ship an average of 167,000 tons each month in order to reach two million tons in a calendar year. At 222,367 tons in February and 297,359 tons in January, the Port is well above average for the year.

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Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust approves capital improvement plan

By: D. Ray Tuttle –

TULSA – The Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust approved a $113.6 million, five-year capital improvement plan on Thursday.

The final plan will go to the Federal Aviation Administration this month. A draft CIP was presented for discussion with members of the
FAA and airport tenants in January.

The CIP is the first step in the FAA’s grant application process, said Jeff Hough, Tulsa International Airport deputy director of engineering and facilities.

The federal government takes TIA’s information and uses it to begin an internal evaluation that prioritizes projects and determines which ones to fund, Hough said. Generally, the FAA staff in Fort Worth, Texas, collects information from all airports in the five-state region: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. The FAA sorts through these plans from April through June and will submit recommendations to its headquarters for evaluation and funding decisions.

Among the 23 projects is a $22 million design and reconstruction project of Taxiway J at TIA. The taxiway carries traffic off the commercial air carrier runway.

The project will be split into two parts, Hough said.

“The FAA cannot cough up that kind of money in one year; it is too much, so we will split this into two phases,” Hough said.

The cost will be between $11 million and $12 million per phase, he said.

“The project does lend itself into being split into two phases,” Hough said.

Splitting the Taxiway J reconstruction into two phases is expected to add another $1 million to the project, Hough said.

Also, TIA officials plan to spend $700,000 to demolish several cargo buildings in the southwest corner of the airport. The site clearing of dilapidated cargo buildings is necessary for redevelopment, according to the CIP.

The CIP calls for $150,000 on planning for a multimodal facility at the airport. The facility will interface between various forms of transportation: air, barges from the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, rail and highway, according to the CIP. Initial phases of the project include concept development, environmental studies, land acquisition and preliminary engineering work.

Tulsa has various forms of transportation available adjacent to TIA. The project takes advantage of those opportunities and would promote a variety of airport-related development, according to the CIP.

The trust also approved a six-month agreement with Kyle Smith, owner of Family Fun, for music service at the terminal. The service will allow people in the terminal to purchase songs at the rate of two for a dollar. The service will cost the airport $204 per month, said
Alexis Higgins, deputy director of marketing. However, the airport will receive 40 percent of the revenue generated by the service. Currently, music is piped into the airport.

A device that resembles a jukebox will be set up in Concourse B. The service will launch next week, said Daniel Meier, air service development coordinator.

“Just waiting on the paperwork,” Meier said.

If the service is renewed, another device would be added in Concourse A following renovation. The $23 million renovation of Concourse A will take another 15 months and, once complete, will house operations for Delta, American and Allegiant airlines.

Jeff Smith, senior project manager for Flintco, which is managing the Concourse A renovation, presented three contracts for board approval.

A $168,736 contract was awarded to American Terrazzo for flooring of Concourse A. The contract amount was $34,771 below the engineer’s estimate of $203,507.

A $65,685 contract was awarded to Vale Painting Co. The amount was $21,932 below the engineer’s estimate. A $25,245 contract was awarded to Osiyo Metals LLC for decorative metal railings. The amount was $7,321 below the engineer’s estimate.

The trust also approved a $15,597 change order with Contech Inc. and will add the installation of a passenger boarding bridge foundation at Gate A-10. The installation will support an airline request to provide a second parking position capable of accommodating a wide-body aircraft. The change order represents 5.2 percent of the total $316,515 cost for the concrete portion of the Concourse A renovation.

In a related move, the trust approved a $27,116 change order that will move a passenger boarding bridge at Gate A-8 to Gate A-10 to accommodate a request to have a second parking position for a wide-body aircraft.

Once construction is complete at Concourse A, airlines will be able to use Gates A7 or
Gate A9, depending on the jet bridge placement, or Gate A10. The gates will be renumbered following the renovation. Currently, the only gate capable of handling wide-body aircraft is Gate 25.

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Harsco industrial Air-X-Changers to consolidate to single location in CenterPoint Industrial Park

By: Robert Evatt –

Though the conversion of the former Ford glass plant into CenterPoint Industrial Park began last month, the center already has its first big tenant.

Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers, a local manufacturer of air-cooled heat exchangers for the natural gas industry, will relocate to 525,000 square feet within the existing administration building and warehouse at the park.

Though the move to the park at 5555 S. 129th East Ave. consolidates its four current locations — three at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and one in Sapulpa — it’s also an increase of 200,000 square feet.

Eric Clower, Harsco AXC vice president and general manager, said in a press release the move will allow the company to boost its workforce above its current 500, though he didn’t release specific details.

“Consolidating our operations in one location, with room to expand, positions Harsco AXC for continuing and accelerated growth,” he said. “The move to a single campus will improve productivity across the board through workflow and material handling efficiencies that are difficult with operations at four separate locations.”

Scott Gerson, group president of the Harsco Industrial division, said in a release the relocation demonstrates the company’s commitment to the Tulsa area.

“Harsco has been a proud part of Tulsa for nearly four decades, and Harsco AXC was founded here 60 years ago this year,” he said.

“As Harsco AXC has shown, the Tulsa area offers the right business environment — and the quality workforce — a company needs to prosper and grow.”

The company expects to be operational at CenterPoint by December.

5555 Property Developers, managed by David Johnson, purchased the vacant glass plant from Ford Motor Co. in February for $8.25 million. The furnace buildings have been torn down, and the remaining 900,000 square feet will form the core of CenterPoint, said David Glasgow of CB Richard Ellis/Oklahoma, the broker for the facility’s sale.

Two new buildings — one 60,000 square feet and the other 120,000 square feet — are under construction on the 187-acre campus, and up to one million square feet of new space could be added.

Robert Evatt 918-581-8447
Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers
Established: 1954
What: Manufacturer of air-cooled heat exchangers for the natural gas industry
Employees: 500

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5 Questions: Clint Herring of Verdigris Nitrogen Complex

By: K. Arnold –

1: What does CF Industries/Terra Nitrogen’s Verdigris plant manufacture and what is it used for?

The Verdigris Nitrogen Complex produces ammonia and UAN (Urea Ammonium Nitrate). Both of these are nitrogen-based liquid fertilizers that are applied to crops to promote plant growth and development. While the majority of nitrogen fertilizer in the U.S. is used on corn, it is also used on other crops, such as wheat, rice, barley and fruits and vegetables. CF Industries produces enough nitrogen fertilizer in a single year at this facility to help grow enough food crops to cover one third of the entire state of Oklahoma.

2: CF Industries put in $100 million in improvements in 2013 and is working on another $100 million in improvements for this year. What kind of upgrades are underway?

The primary upgrades include improvements in energy efficiency, emission reductions, tank and rail storage capacity, mechanical integrity, control system modernization, and production increases. Making the two plants here at the complex more efficient and reliable means we will be able to take even greater advantage of low cost North American natural gas, which is the primary feedstock used to create nitrogen fertilizer. We will also have more flexibility to store a greater volume of products here and use our distribution network throughout the Midwest to be supportive of the agricultural needs of our region’s farmers.

3: CF Industries is one of the largest industrial tenants near the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. How does the waterway help the plant?

Tulsa Port of Catoosa is critical to our efforts. We ship over 450,000 tons of liquid fertilizer out of the Port of Catoosa, making us the largest exporter on the Arkansas River system. And we expect to increase this by another 100,000 tons in the next year and a half. The port allows us to ship products to the northern Midwest states in a more cost-effective manner than by using trucks or rail to transport the product. By utilizing the Port of Catoosa, we’ve replaced over 22,500 trucks, just over 60 trucks a day, reducing congestion and making our local roads safer.

4: Why is northeastern Oklahoma a good location for a fertilizer plant?

Natural gas is the raw material used to produce nitrogen-based fertilizers at our complex. As the largest single consumer of natural gas in the state of Oklahoma, being close to a reliable and economical source of natural gas is critical to the long-term viability of the Verdigris Nitrogen Complex.
Additionally, being close to our customers — the farmers of the Midwest — decreases our delivery times. And with the multi-faceted logistics options in the area — barges on the Arkansas River, rail via BNSF, tanker truck via the multiple highways in the region, and the ammonia pipeline from here to Wisconsin — we are able to respond to rapidly changing weather or economic conditions to meet the farmers’ needs in the most efficient way.

5: You’ve worked for 23 years in manufacturing. How is running an ammonia production facility similar and different than other facets of the manufacturing industry?

In manufacturing — whether you are making fertilizer, automobiles, or pipe — the most important focus is on doing things the right way, which means safe operations for your employees and neighbors. That is our company motto: Do It Right. The greatest difference for me now that I am in the nutrient business, is that what I am doing is an integral part of providing a sustainable food supply, for the U.S. and the world. It is nice to go home and know that I am part of the American farm system that is feeding the world.
Clint Herring is the general manager of the Verdigris Nitrogen Complex, a manufacturing plant making fertilizer products for the agriculture industry. Herring started at the plant in June 2013 after 23 years in manufacturing management.

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Port Authority gives approval for purchase of towboat engines

By: Larry Levy –

Two engines with an estimated combined cost of $100,000 are to be purchased by the Tulsa Port of Catoosa for the James M. Hewgley, Jr. towboat.

Each of the 400 horsepower engines have been in operation for more than 25,000 hours, the equivalent of nearly three years of continuous use, David Yarbrough, deputy port director, said at the March meeting of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority in seeking approval for the project.

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