September Shipping Dips at Port

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa experiences lower shipping volume in September.
Downstream from the Port, Locks 17 and 18 were shut down for repairs from Aug. 24 through Sept. 10.
While total shipping for September was just 76,055 tons because of the lock maintenance closure, strong numbers were seen during the days the Port could receive inbound shipments of general dry cargo as well as dry bulk cargo, according to a statement from the Port. Outbound shipments were particularly slowed by the lock closure, but normal activity was seen in outgoing barges of general dry cargo, as well as agricultural and liquid bulk products.
“Despite the delays resulting from the lock closures, the Port had a good month,” said Ed Fariss, chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority. “While it is never pleasant to see disruptions in operations, we are grateful to the Corps of Engineers for taking care of the critically needed repairs to the locks that, if left alone, could have become much worse than they were – just like what happened on the Ohio River.”
The main gate at the Markland Lock & Dam on the Ohio River failed on Sept. 27, forcing barges to use a smaller, auxiliary lock which will greatly slow traffic along that waterway for months, until repairs can be made.
Fariss said the failure of the Ohio River lock should remind everyone that our nation’s waterways are facing serious problems due to age and normal wear and tear.
“If something like that were to happen on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, it could be very detrimental to the economies of not only Oklahoma and Arkansas, but also for the regional and national economies,” he said.
Nearly 1.5 million tons of freight have travelled through the Tulsa Port of Catoosa so far in 2009. If the navigation system had not been available, the line of tractor-trailers (bumper to bumper) required to deliver the same amount of freight would be more than 900 miles long, the distance from Tulsa to Detroit, Michigan.
Shipping levels along the length of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System were also affected by the maintenance closure of the Oklahoma locks, with 931,383 tons of freight shipped on the waterway, much lower than August totals.

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