Port Reports December and 2015 Tonnage
CATOOSA, OKLA. – January 21, 2016 – Total barge tonnage through the Port in December was 147,723 tons, boosting the annual total for 2015 to 1,551,808 tons.
While lower than the 2014 total, the volume is substantial given the number of external factors the Port had to contend with over the past year, including a strong U.S. dollar which has made US exports more expensive; the precipitous drop in the price of oil; a poor grain harvest in Oklahoma, combined with reduced demand for U.S. grain exports; slow global growth, especially in key emerging markets; and excessive rains — likely the most significant of those headwinds.
Last May, and then again in late December, excessive rainfall created fast currents all along the system that either severely restricted or forced shipping to a halt altogether. In all, nearly eight weeks of shipping were lost due to this situation.
Despite those challenges, Port Authority Chairman Chip McElroy was upbeat about the Port and its future at the annual State of the Port address on January 12th. McElroy praised the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their efforts to get the navigation system up and running again as well as for their successful flood-control management.
McElroy also touted the advantages that the Port and waterway bring to the region.
“The economic impact to Oklahoma and the surrounding region from this Port and the waterway is staggering,” he said. “Waterway transportation — despite the challenges of 2015 — is still the most economical and environmentally friendly method of surface transportation on the planet. We firmly believe that cargo transportation by water will continue to play a vital role in the economic growth of our state and region,” said McElroy.
Total shipping for the entire McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in 2015 was 9.9 million tons, 1.7 million lower than in 2014. Of the 2015 total, nearly 4.5 million tons were shipped through Oklahoma.
The Port handled 16% of the cargo shipped on the navigation system last year, and 35% of the cargo that moved through Oklahoma.
The 2,500-acre Tulsa Port of Catoosa complex offers industrial sites for lease, and its Riverview Business Park, adjacent to the Port, offers property for sale.
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Posted by: Jeff Yowell