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Port of Catoosa handles 75 millionth ton of cargo

By: Kyle Arnold Tulsa World

A 1,460-ton load of steel coils shipped in last month was a weighty milestone for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.

On June 9, Cargill Metal Service brought in the 75 millionth ton of cargo shipped through the Tulsa Port of Catoosa since the inland transportation center and industrial park opened in northeast Oklahoma 43 years ago.“It really shows the innovative spirit that Oklahomans possess,” said Bob Portiss, director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. “An inland port might sound implausible to some, but without this waterway, our state would not have the transportation advantages that it enjoys today.”The steel shipment, like many other products headed in and out of the port, took a long journey. It started in Severstall, Russia, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the way to the Port of New Orleans. From there it went 600 miles up the Mississippi before connecting with the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, which took it up the Arkansas and Verdigris rivers 440 miles to Catoosa.The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is a 2,500-acre industrial park that is home to nearly 4,000 employees and 70 companies.More than 2 million tons of cargo are shipped in and out of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa each year, including much of the steel that powers local manufacturing as well as agriculture products such as grain and fertilizer.

The port has also handled the shipment of crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico when the spread on oil prices was large enough to make a profit on shipping up the waterway.

It’s a long road since the first shipment came into the port 43 years ago, carrying 650 tons of newsprint destined for the Tulsa World.

Cargill Metal Services Plant Manager Stephen Walker said that the steel was headed to its plant at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, where it is flattened and cut into sheets to be sold to local manufacturers.

“Our big market for foils around here is oil and gas, that’s our No. 1 sector,” Walker said.

The port itself is one of the reasons that manufacturing can thrive in the Tulsa region, with cheap products heading up and down the waterway. According to port studies, shipping industrial products such as steel down the waterway is about 15 percent cheaper than other methods.

A waterway barge can handle about 60 coils of steel, whereas a rail car can handle about four coils and a semi-truck just one.

Cargill has 35 employees at its Tulsa plant and also supplies industrial manufacturers such as agriculture equipment makers.

The port was built during the 1960s as one of the nation’s most inland waterways. The total cost was just over $21 million when it was finished in 1971. Since then the park has been self-sustaining, paying for upgrades, roads and new projects with rents levied on tenants at the park.

In 2013 the port handled just over 2.7 million tons of cargo inbound and outbound, one barge shy of the all-time record set the year before.

Port officials are working on new upgrades to the dock that could double the capacity for dry cargo shipments. That $12.3 million upgrade project should be finished sometime in late 2015.

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Tulsa Port of Catoosa reaches milestone

By: NewsOK

On June 9, Cargill Metal Service brought in the 75 millionth ton of cargo shipped through the Tulsa Port of Catoosa since the inland transportation center and industrial park opened in northeast Oklahoma 43 years ago.

A 1,460-ton load of steel coils shipped in last month was a weighty milestone for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.
On June 9, Cargill Metal Service brought in the 75 millionth ton of cargo shipped through the Tulsa Port of Catoosa since the inland transportation center and industrial park opened in northeast Oklahoma 43 years ago.

“It really shows the innovative spirit that Oklahomans possess,” said Bob Portiss, director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. “An inland port might sound implausible to some, but without this waterway, our state would not have the transportation advantages that it enjoys today.”

The steel shipment, like many other products headed in and out of the port, took a long journey. It started in Severstall, Russia, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the way to the Port of New Orleans. From there it went 600 miles up the Mississippi before connecting with the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, which took it up the Arkansas and Verdigris rivers 440 miles to Catoosa.

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is a 2,500-acre industrial park with nearly 4,000 employees and 70 companies.
More than 2 million tons of cargo are shipped at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa each year, including steel and agriculture products such as grain and fertilizer.

The port also has handled crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico when the spread on oil prices was large enough to make a profit on shipping up the waterway.

It’s a long road since the port’s first shipment 43 years ago, carrying 650 tons of newsprint for the Tulsa World.

Cargill Metal Services plant manager Stephen Walker said that the steel went to its plant at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, where it is flattened and cut into sheets to be sold to local manufacturers.

“Our big market for foils around here is oil and gas, that’s our No. 1 sector,” Walker said.

The port helps manufacturing thrive in the Tulsa region, with products heading up and down the waterway. According to port studies, shipping industrial products down the waterway is about 15 percent less expensive than other methods.

A waterway barge can handle about 60 coils of steel, whereas a rail car can handle about four coils and a semi-truck just one.

The port was built during the 1960s as one of the nation’s most inland waterways. The total cost was just over $21 million in 1971.

Port officials are working on upgrades to the dock that could double the capacity for dry cargo shipments. That $12.3 million upgrade project is expected to be finished sometime in late 2015.

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Maritime Education Center Open to the Public

By: Marex – Maritime Executive

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa opened the doors to a new Maritime Education Center on May 2nd. The MEC is an interactive forum to educate students and the general public about the importance of water transport to the economy.

“Our Port staff has been working on this education center for a significant amount of time,” said Bob Portiss, Port Director. “It is vitally important for everyone to know the value of our Port and the inland waterway system.”

The Maritime Education Center features interactive video kiosks where visitors can learn about the Port’s history and economic impact on Oklahoma. There are also floor maps highlighting the inland waterway system and the Port’s location in global trade. Facts about the Port and artifacts from companies that utilize the Tulsa Port of Catoosa are incorporated throughout the center as well.

The space used for the education center previously housed the Arkansas River Historical Society Museum. The new education center expands on that concept to show how states along the Arkansas River rely on the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.

“Our story isn’t just about a port on the Arkansas River,” said Portiss. “It is about an international port, providing efficient shipping that keeps lowers transportation costs in Oklahoma. It also gives our state the ability to ship cargo that could not be shipped using other forms of transportation because of its size and weight.”

Admission at the Maritime Education Center is free and people of all ages are welcome. Some Tulsa area schools have already taken advantage of the education center for field trips.

“Our future business leaders in the community are already taking a renewed interest in the waterway,” said David G. Page, Chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority. “The Maritime Education Center demonstrates the impact the waterway has on the entire region.”

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Congressman Says Port of Catoosa Expansion Would Provide Stability

By: newson6.com

Expanding the Port of Catoosa was the focus of a press conference on Friday.

The Water Resource Reform and Development Act would lengthen docks and add 60 additional spaces for barge parking.U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin says the port of Catoosa helps provide stability and confidence in commerce for the area.

And a lot of local markets depend on the channel for shipment of goods.

“If this navigational channel were to stop, it makes a drastic impact on our economy, it affects 8,000 jobs, it affects $5 billion worth of investment and just $2 million in our economy every day,” Mullin said.

The new plan would work on the expansion in phases over the next four to five years as well as deepen the channel.

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Markwayne Mullin Water Resource Reform

By: Rhett Morgan – Tulsaworld.com

CLAREMORE — U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin on Friday touted the impact of a federal authorization bill designed to ensure the viability of state waterways such as the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

“We have a jewel here in Catoosa,” Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, said at a news conference at the port. “It was an honor of mine to be able to highlight it to the rest of the world and definitely our country. … It’s amazing how many people in Oklahoma aren’t aware of what we have right here in our backyard.”Mullin is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is a co-sponsor of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which is expected to be signed into law soon by President Barack Obama.The legislation would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct water projects to mitigate storm and hurricane damage, restore ecosystems and improve flood management, and allow the Corps to assist state and local governments with levee safety programs and to assist Indian tribes with water resources projects.

Moreover, the act would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to provide loans or loan guarantees to state and local governments and certain nongovernmental entities to complete water infrastructure projects.

The Port of Catoosa and the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System impact 8,000 jobs and represent $5 billion in private industry investments from Catoosa through Muskogee, Mullin said. Any shutdown of the waterway would cost the state an estimated $2 million per day, the congressman said.

“Throughout this process, our office and the Port of Catoosa have been very involved in making sure that Oklahoma isn’t overlooked, that Oklahoma just isn’t a fly-over state,” he said.

He added that Congress understands how important the port is “to our ag (agriculture) community, how important it is to our oil and gas industry, how important it is to our economy in general.”

Once signed, the act would clear the way for several projects at the port, including about $10 million for improved barge parking and a dock overhaul that would run from $10 million to $12 million, Port Director Bob Portiss said.

The port can handle about 100 barges at a time, he said.

“There have been a couple of times where we’ve been up to about 100 and a quarter,” Portiss said. “When you drive by the channel, you could literally walk across the channel on barges. I don’t like seeing that. It looks good, but the fact remains it’s a very inefficient way to operate.

“We need that (additional parking). We need that critically.”

The four- to five-year parking project is expected to start later this year and involve opening an area for about 60 barges on an unused, curved portion of the Verdigris River, Portiss said.

“We’re going to take that curve and turn it into a large parking lot,” he said. “It means digging it out and making it a little bit wider.”

Dock enhancements, which are underway and could be completed by late 2015, will include new concrete along worn-out aprons, Portiss said.

“We need to make it a modern, efficient dock that will accommodate the needs of our shippers for the next 40 to 50 years,” he said.

Portiss reiterated Friday that barge transportation is the cleanest, safest and most economical transportation in the world.

“We like to talk about the fact that we can move three bushels of grain to the Gulf (of Mexico) cheaper than you can buy a first-class postage stamp,” he said. “The towboat that pushes up to 12 barges out of here is the equivalent of about 720 trucks. A crew of 10 is on that boat. The economics of barge transportation are incredible.”

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