Construction work has begun on a dock renovation project at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa which officials say will increase the port's overall capacity. Officials say it has the potential to divert container cargo scheduled for unloading on the West Coast for delivery to the Midwest.
When completed, officials say the project will double the Port of Catoosa's main dock capacity, allowing for simultaneous handling of multiple barges and potentially containerized freight.
The Tulsa Port of Catoosa was awarded a $6.4 million matching grant through the 2012 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program (TIGER) to cover almost half of the cost of the project.
Jeff Yowell, marketing manager for the Port of Catoosa, said one reason they pursued the grant was attract intermodal shipments.
He said with the completion of the Panama Canal expansion in 2015, the Port of Catoosa believes container cargo could be diverted to New Orleans where it would be off-loaded on barges for shipment up the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.
Yowell says right now it takes a wait of three weeks for a container ship to be unload at the Port of Los Angeles. By 2015, the same ship could go through the Panama Canal to New Orleans, off-load onto a barge and arrive in Oklahoma within the same time period.
He says this project will further enhance the Port of Catoosa as an inland, international logistics center.
When done, Yowell says the renovation project will increase capacity allowing more than 1 million tons of iron and steel and bulk cargo to be able to be handled per year at the Port of Catoosa.
Yowell said the main dock rehabilitation project will feature a new concrete surface, embedded railroad tracks, upgrades to an existing overhead crane and the addition of a second overhead crane.