Arkansas Awards Development Grants To Three Public Ports
The Arkansas Waterways Commission announced July 28 that it awarded grants totaling $1,952,102.55 to three Arkansas ports through its Arkansas Port, Intermodal and Waterway Development Grant Program.
Through the grant program, ad valorem taxes paid by industries on the value of commodities shipped using Arkansas’ navigable waterways are reinvested into Arkansas ports to make capital improvements and facilitate dredging projects.
The three projects awarded grants are:
• The Helena-West Helena/Phillips County Port Authority was awarded $535,000 to construct a truck staging lane for Helm Fertilizer Road expansion, which is part of a $12 million phased expansion at Helena Harbor. The road expansion project will improve efficiency, flow and safety for truck traffic, enable future development and attract additional industry to Helena Harbor.
• The Osceola Port Authority was awarded $417,102 to replace aging cargo handling equipment. Upgrading this equipment will help increase cargo handling capacity at the Osceola Port by improving the efficiency of loading and unloading barges and trucks.
• The West Memphis–Crittenden County Port Authority was awarded $1 million to remove metal dolphins and replace a mooring pylon north of the dock to improve dangerous water flow conditions, mitigate/remove upstream debris and strengthen the dock substructure. This funding will help correct an eddy issue that has been inhibiting consistently reliable dock operations. Correcting the eddy will facilitate port and economic development and increase waterborne commerce and tonnage at the port.
“The Mississippi River is one of the world’s most important commercial waterways,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “The river forms the entire eastern border of Arkansas, and these three ports are responsible for importing and exporting billions of dollars in goods each year. It is vital that we maintain and improve the ports to ensure our state’s economic health now and in the future.”
“Located on the Mississippi River, these ports play a significant role in our state’s livelihood,” Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said. “About 200,000 tons of commodities pass by these ports each year, connecting Arkansas with markets around the world. These funds will make the ports more attractive for business and industry.”
AWC Director Cassandra Caldwell said, “Arkansas’ commercially navigable waterways are a significant economic driver. Barge transportation is the most cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly mode of shipping bulk and oversized cargo. Between today’s supply chain challenges, inflation and rising fuel costs, Arkansas maintains an economic and competitive advantage by continuing to invest in its inland waterways infrastructure.”
The Arkansas Waterways Commission is the state agency responsible for developing, promoting and protecting waterborne transportation in Arkansas. The commission promotes economic development for ports on the five commercially navigable rivers of the state: the Arkansas, Mississippi, Ouachita, Red and White Rivers.