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Portiss Named Champion of Change by White House

CATOOSA, OKLA. – October 8, 2015 — The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that Bob Portiss, Port Director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, has been named a 2015 Champion of Change.

The White House Champions of Change Program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the nation, who are leading projects and initiatives that move their communities forward. Champions of Change: Transportation Innovators is a national program to honor leaders who have devoted their time and efforts in developing innovative ways that transportation helps their community reach new heights. This year’s theme is Beyond Traffic: Innovators for Transportation for the Future.

Bob Portiss will be one of 10 honorees recognized at the White House on October 13, 2015. The Champions of Change will also be honored by the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx at the White House event.

“This is certainly an unbelievable honor,” said Bob Portiss. “Throughout my career, I have been an advocate for inland waterways issues at both the state and national level. To now see those efforts being recognized as part of the future of our nation’s transportation is a truly rewarding moment.”

Mr. Portiss has been a passionate advocate for inland waterways issues at both the state and national level for not only the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS), but all of the U.S. navigable waterways.

In the 1980s, Mr. Portiss and a group of MKARNS advocates formed the Coalition for Montgomery Point Lock and Dam and began a 25-year campaign to support the construction of a lock and dam at the confluence of the MKARNS and the Mississippi River to resolve issues that threatened future navigation; and through their tireless efforts Montgomery Point Lock and Dam was authorized, funded and built, opening to service in July 2005.

“While our waterways and ports are an established mode of transportation, their relevancy is growing more and more as we look to the challenges we face during the next few decades,” said Portiss. “While our roads become more congested and greenhouse gases continue to threaten the environment, our nation’s inland waterways are running efficiently and are still the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation.”

Mr. Portiss’ tireless advocacy for a partnership relationship with the Corps has led to system unity among stakeholders from two states and from two USACE districts; and as a result, in August 2009, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Mr. Portiss the prestigious Bronze de Fleury Medal presented to honor those individuals who have provided significant contributions to Army engineering.

“I also believe that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for our nation’s highways and rail lines to handle the volume of international trade that is projected to double over the next decade,” said Portiss. “The only realistic solution is more utilization of our nation’s inland waterways system for cargo transportation needs. This is why I am also bringing attention to the fact that if we do not repair and preserve the infrastructure on our nation’s waterways, we will lose them and the economic benefits they provide.”

In 2013, Bob Portiss was appointed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to chair the Oklahoma Port Task Force to study and develop a comprehensive plan to accommodate the added burden on Oklahoma ports, roads, and bridges resulting from the reopening of the expanded Panama Canal.

Stay current with what’s happening at the Port by visiting our website at www.tulsaport.com, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Port Central – Spring 2015 newsletter now online

The Spring 2015 edition of our newsletter, Port Central, is now online:
View Newsletter >>

Out with the old, in with the new

By: Jeff Yowell, Port Staff

August 4, 2014 — The original transit shed at the Port is being demolished as part of our Main Dock project.

This project includes a new, larger transit shed as well as dock resurfacing, more rail access at the main dock, and a new 300-ton gantry crane.

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.

READ MORE > Read less >