Tulsa, OK – Excessive rain and flooding along the Mississippi River in May forced the closure of lock number 2 on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System for nearly three weeks, preventing most barge cargo from reaching or leaving the Tulsa Port of Catoosa during that time period, resulting in lower monthly tonnage volumes for both the Port and the waterway.
Nevertheless, despite the slowdown, cargo activity was above normal for the days that water transportation was possible. Total tonnage shipped in May was 99,366 tons, moved on 59 barges.
There were several tonnage increases in commonly-shipped commodities from the previous month, such as wheat and gypsum.
Ed Fariss, Chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority, said despite the fact that weather-related transportation difficulties slow commerce down, it can't be stopped given the Port's truck and rail capabilities.
"The tonnage figures from the dates in May when barge transportation was not impeded by the flooding along the Mississippi were definitely encouraging," said Fariss.
Fariss said employment numbers at the Port also continue to rise: There are now 3,085 employees in the industrial park, with more hiring reported to be on the way in the near future.
Total shipping for the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in May was 456,074 tons, 22% of which was handled through the Port. Oklahoma's share of the total was 169,600 tons. Fifty-nine percent of the freight that shipped through Oklahoma was handled by the Port.
The 2,500-acre Port complex offers industrial sites for lease, and its Riverview Business Park, adjacent to the Port, offers property for sale. Together they are home to more than 60 companies employing more than 3,000 employees.