Tulsa primed to expand shipping capacity as Panama Canal nears completion
After more than two years of phased construction, officials at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa formally dedicated their nearly $12 million dock renovation project Tuesday.
Featured speakers for the dedication ceremony were Chip Jaenichen, Administrator for United States Maritime Administration; Gary Ridley, Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation; Michael Patterson, Executive Director for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation; and Bob Portiss, Port Director of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority, who joined an estimated 800 national, regional and city officials, industry leaders, employees and their family members in attendance at the event.
“This investment in our waterway gives us the ability to move massive amounts of cargo across various modes of transportation unlike we’ve ever done before. There is no other dock of its kind along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation Channel,” Portiss said. “The old dock served us well for 45 years, but this dock will take Oklahoma’s seacoast into the future of shipping for the next 45 years.”
The newly reconstructed 720-foot dock boasts a 200-ton bridge crane and over 6,000 track feet of new rail. Shippers are now able to load barges directly onto rail or truck, or efficiently transload between truck and rail, creating a seamless and cost-effective logistics operation for companies ranging from break bulk to manufactured project cargo.
Expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to complete this year, which industry officials say will provide new opportunities for container cargo to be diverted to the Port of New Orleans and into the country's interior via the inland waterway system. As a centrally located multimodal shipping complex, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa’s dock renovation solidifies its position as a cost-effective destination and launching point for various cargo, including agriculture, steel and manufactured consumer goods.
“Truly, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is a model for the maritime industry, as our nation anticipates and prepares for an explosion in landside freight transport,” Jaenichen said. “It encourages us as we begin to look in earnest at the urgent need to return to our maritime roots.”
The project was partially funded through a grant from the U.S Department of Transportation's TIGER grant program, which has been used to fund improvements to rail, waterways and critical road projects across the nation.