The Port of Catoosa had a record year in 2012 and a record month in January, 2013, for shipping totals.
That’s despite $100 million of deferred critical maintenance that needs to be done.
A system failure resulting in the closing of the port could result in a loss of $2 million per day.
A federal TIGER grant will fund the rehabilitation of the port’s main dock, doubling its capacity.
More funding is needed, however, to perform critical repairs to the lock and dam system.
Chairman of the Port Authority David Page says that despite the infrastructure challenges, right now the port is in a growth phase.
“Part of that is some new commodities that are being shipped through the waterway that have typically been sent in other modes of transportation,” Page explained.
The main new commodity coming through the port? Crude oil.
“Crude oil, going to the Gulf, was typically done through pipelines,” he said. “Now those pipelines are at capacity. We’re handling overflow.”
“It’s a big, big issue,” Page said.