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Sunday, July 31, 2022

Milestone at the Port of Caddo-Bossier


Port successfully unloads its 200th barge

The Port of Caddo-Bossier has buzzed with activity recently.

“It’s an extraordinarily busy time in terms of economic development activity and cargo movement,” said Executive Port Director Eric England. “The citizens’ investment in the port has paid off, and what we’re seeing are the dividends of their commitment years ago as well as present day.”

On July 10, Port employees offloaded the 200th barge carrying steel coils bound for Grapeland, Texas.

“The 200th barge is a major milestone,” England said. “That’s 200 barges of cargo that have arrived and been successfully unloaded without a single lost-time incident.”

The coils came from Nucor’s Blytheville, Ark., facility. They were transferred to trucks en route to the company’s Vulcraft- Texas operation south of Tyler.

By utilizing barges and the Port, Nucor saves money on transporting the coils versus trucking the coils the entire way. Nucor has partnered with the Port since 2017.

“One barge holds the equivalent of 60 truckloads,” England said. “It’s also the equivalent of 15 or 16 rail cars. We ship up to six barges at a time with a single tugboat. Therefore, one shipment is the equivalent of 90 rail cars or 360 trucks. So it is kinder to the environment and economical.”

According to the news release, more than 385,000 tons of steel coils made their way through the Port of Caddo-Bossier in 2021, making it one of the biggest commodities of the year.

On June 30, the Port cut the ribbon on a 100,000-square-foot heavy-load warehouse.

Construction began on the warehouse in October 2019. The building was finished in February. Port tenant Odyssey Logistics expanded its operations into the new warehouse in March. The expansion gave Odyssey 310,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Port. The company added five employees as a result of the expansion.

The warehouse also houses steel coils for Ternium USA, another Port tenant.

The $15 million warehouse project is a partnership with the Red River Waterway Commission and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Walter Bigby Jr., president of the Caddo-Bossier Parishes Port Commission, said the warehouse is a boon to Port tenants.

“The new warehouse will equip Odyssey Logistics, Ternium and our other customers to be better prepared for whatever market issues or Mother Nature can throw at us,” he said. “Tenants can ramp up inventory levels ahead of any worldwide or national transportation supply chain disruptions, thus making them more efficient and profitable.”

The growth of the Port is pivotal to economic development throughout the region, said Colin Brown, executive director of the Red River Waterway Commission.

“As part of its mission, the Red River Waterway Commission works to promote economic development along the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway,” he said. “The opening of this new heavy-load industrial warehouse is yet another success story for our region that is a direct result of the vision of and the continued partnership between the Commission, the Port and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.”

Renee Lapeyrolerie, commissioner for DOTD’s Office of Multimodal Commerce, agreed.

“The forward-thinking of the Port team demonstrates their understanding of their tenants’ needs,” Lapeyrolerie said. “These relationships will continue to help the Port grow and create even more economic development opportunities for Caddo- Bossier and the entire state.”

England said the new warehouse is one step toward meeting the demand at the Port.

“Even today with the completion of the warehouse, there is demand for even more space,” he said. “We will be, by the end of the year, underway on another warehouse building.”

The Port of Caddo-Bossier is a 4,000-square-foot facility located at the head of navigation on the Red River Waterway in Northwest Louisiana. An inland multi-modal transportation and distribution center, The Port works hand in hand with the port system of Louisiana to successfully link customers throughout the Ark-La-Tex region to domestic and international markets via the Mississippi River, the nation’s largest river system, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

England praised the Shreveport-Bossier community for the Port’s success.

“This is the citizens’ port,” he said. “The citizens of Caddo and Bossier have supported us throughout the decades. The commissioners and the staff are honored to be involved.”


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