Port Of Catoosa Proves To Be A Major Staple In Oklahoma Business


Monday, March 12th 2007, 8:46 am
By: News On 6


When you think of Catoosa, you might think of the Blue Whale on Route 66 or the new Cherokee Casino, which draws thousands of people to town, but big business might think of something else. News On 6 anchor Craig day reports big things are happening at the Port of Catoosa.

Right here in Oklahoma, smack dab in the middle of the country, there is a seaport. Port of Catoosa Director Bob Portiss says some folks raise an eyebrow when you say seaport and Oklahoma in the same sentence.

"We can ship by water from your port right here to any port in the world, without touching land again," said Portiss.

Since opening 35 years ago, the Port of Catoosa has seen steady growth and is now home to 63 separate industrial facilities.

"It has enabled us to locate industry that otherwise wouldn't have located," Portiss said.

Those businesses take advantage of a 15% savings in transportation costs by using the river. A wide range of materials can be loaded or unloaded to and from rail cars or the 900 trucks coming in and out each day. And nearly 4,000 people work at the port in a variety of businesses.

"Those jobs translate into an annual payroll coming out of the port every year of no less than $145 million,” said Portiss.

The Port of Catoosa is in the process of buying 500 additional acres to develop for companies to locate here. Also, Congress has given approval to a project that would deepen the river channel to enable barges to carry more products. More products can mean more businesses, more jobs and more growth for the port.

"The only mode of transportation that has unused capacity is our inland waterway system," Portiss said.

The Port of Catoosa is currently restoring The Charley Border towboat. It will be open for tours later this Spring.