Flooding Impact On Port Of Catoosa Could Be Felt For Weeks

Tuesday, June 4th 2019, 9:31 pm
By: News On 6

The waterways along the Port of Catoosa have now been shut down for three weeks because of flood waters. The ripple effects of the shutdown could be impacting Oklahoma's economy in the future.

The Port Director says overall, this has been a good year for the industry.

"We move typically out of this port, two a half million tons a year by water," said Port Director David Yarbrough.

The waterways along the Port of Catoosa are usually brimming with energy, packed with boats, goods coming in and out of town but on Tuesday things are unusually quiet.

"We are shut down on the waterway. Now the Port of Catoosa is in business we are still getting trucks," said Yarbrough, "Navigation takes a backseat to flood control."

For almost three weeks now, Port Director David Yarbrough says the waterways have been shut down. These waterways aren't just a big deal for Oklahoman's but for more than 20 surrounding states who ship to or receive goods from this port.

"If goods can't move on the water. Whether it is wheat or soybeans or steel coming to Tulsa, they have to ship it by truck or by rail," said Yarbrough.

And that temporary change could impact the state's economy in a big way.

"This is the cheapest way to ship the things that we ship. So, now these folks have to find other ways to move their goods," said Yarbrough, "You won't see it right away but overtime the ripple effects of that transportation interruption. It jams up the highways and it costs more to ship those goods."

Based on the Corps of Engineers projections, Yarbrough says it could be weeks before the waterway reopens.

"This setback on the transportation side is just that, a setback, it is something that we can overcome," said Yarbrough.