Tulsa Port Of Catoosa Celebrates 50,000-Barge Milestone, Third-Best Year

The Tulsa (Okla.) Port of Catoosa reported that 2017 was the third-best year in its 46-year history. The port moved 2.5 million tons of cargo, an increase of 2.26 percent over 2016.

In December, the port welcomed its 50,000th barge. Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum commemorated the event with metro leaders and elected officials. By the time of the February report, 50,075 barged had moved 82.5 million tons of cargo along the 445-mile long navigation system to or from the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.

Located at the head of navigation for the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is one of the most inland ports in the nation. The complex hosts 72 companies including fertilizer distributors, industrial gas suppliers, wheat growers and consumer goods manufacturers employing almost 3,200 people among them.

Beyond symbolic accomplishments, employment is up at the port, In September, TMK IMSCO, one of North America’s largest producers of welded and seamless pipes and connections, announced that it would bring 168 additional jobs and more than $10 million in annual wages and benefits to the port. The company had previously ceased operations in September 2015, and the restart of its operations was a “bright spot” in the port’s multimodal industrial park, it said in a press release.

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“I am proud to report that 2017 was another strong year for the port—a year of growth, recovery, milestones and optimism,” said Chip McElroy, chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority.  “Each year, we want to see an increase in the number of barges pulling through the port, and with the increase in barges, we know we’ll see an increase in the overall economy here in Oklahoma. To be able to celebrate 50,000 barges coming through the port this year and to have our third-strongest year in tonnage is a testament to the strong vision and leadership of the port authority since the beginning.”

The port helped raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research by supporting the Big Hope 1, the pink hopper barge operated by Ceres Barge Line, which raises money for the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center.

In 2017, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa hosted its inaugural Port Harbor Dash, bringing more than 225 runners and spectators to raise money for Dream It Do It Oklahoma, which operates as part of the nonprofit OK2GROW. The organization dovetails with the needs of many port tenants by creating awareness of careers in manufacturing. The run raised more than $3,000 for the organization.