Ports & Terminals

Port Of Memphis Crafting New Master Development Plan

The Port of Memphis is about halfway through the process of crafting a master plan that will guide its development for the next 15 to 20 years.

Last November, the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) of Memphis and Shelby County approved a $327,500 contract with Pickering, a Memphis-based full-service engineering and architectural firm.

Pickering’s partner in the effort is Moffatt & Nichol, a global infrastructure advisory firm that provides solutions to clients in the marine terminal, transportation, energy, environmental, federal, and urban development markets. The team is in the process of surveying existing industry and infrastructure on Presidents Island and Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park, with particular attention to repurposing aging industrial properties on Presidents Island.

Randy Richardson, executive director of the Memphis and Shelby County Port Commission and vice president of EDGE, told The Waterways Journal that the port is running out of space on Presidents Island. “The vacancy rate is the lowest since I’ve been here,” he said.

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According to Richardson, the last master plan was completed around 2008 and dealt with the Pidgeon property, which was then mostly undeveloped.

One of the properties the port is interested in for possible future development is the Allen Fossil Fuel Plant on McKellar Lake, which the Tennessee Valley Authority is in the process of shutting down and replacing with a multi-million-dollar natural gas facility across the street that will be cleaner and have greater capacity. The new plant is expected to come online sometime in 2018.

“The cleanup of the old property will take a long time, so this is a long-term vision,” said Richardson.

The master plan will also focus on what cargo mix is optimal for the port. Attention will be paid to container on barge (COB). The port has discussed the possibility of Memphis being a stop on a COB route being worked out between American Patriot Holdings LLC, the Port of Plaquemines, La., and the Port of St. Louis, Mo. (WJ, April 2). One of the possible uses of the Allen property is as a COB facility, although it is only a possibility right now, Richardson stressed.

The plan will also look at intermodal connectivity and environmental issues.