Rain, Economy Hurt May Shipping at Port

CATOOSA – Barge shipping at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa was 50 percent lower in May compared to April due to the current economic recession and excessive river flows along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.
Unusually heavy rainfall in several southern counties in Kansas ranged between 200-400 percent above normal in April and continued into May, filling reservoirs in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. This region continued to receive rain over a period of several weeks, contributing to poor transportation conditions along the entire length of the waterway.
“As a result of the heavy rainfall, river flows exceeding 100,000 cubic feet per second stopped or severely slowed barge traffic,” said Ed Fariss, Chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority.
“Inclement weather adversely affects all modes of transportation, and that of course includes our inland waterway system,” said Fariss.
Despite the difficulties, the 2009 cumulative total as of May is comparable to and even higher than several of the last ten years.
The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System handled half a million tons of freight in May. Roughly one fourth of that travelled through Oklahoma. Of the Oklahoma portion, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa handled 61 percent.

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