Industry, Corps To Host Familiarization Tour Of Tenn-Tom Waterway

The Tennessee-Tombigbee (Tenn-Tom) Waterway Development Authority and the Mobile  Engineer District are hosting a familiarization tour of the Tenn-Tom Waterway next month.

The two-day event will begin October 5 with a special event at the Corps’ Tenn-Tom project management office in Columbus, Miss.

“We’re going to start the evening of October 5 with a grand opening ceremony for the new Tenn-Tom project office,” said Mitch Mays, administrator for the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority and president of the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Council.

The grand opening event will include tours of the new facility, refreshments, and remarks from Col. Jeremy Chapman, commander of the Mobile District. Following the office grand opening, familiarization tour participants will reconvene for a meal at Graham’s Camp House in Columbus.

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“The next morning, we’re going to get on the mv. Tenn-Tom and the Corps’ work barge and take a float past the Steel Dynamics facility where they offload scrap steel,” Mays said.

Continuing on, the tour will also highlight work at the Lowndes County Port fleeting area.

The mv. Tenn-Tom will then turn around and head north, passing through Stennis Lock and continuing northbound toward Clay County’s port facility and Tom Soya Grain, located on the west bank of the waterway near the city of West Point, Miss.

Mays said the group will disembark around noon, then travel to Steel Dynamics for lunch.

“This is the first fam tour we’ve done since 2019,” Mays said. “We felt like it was time to highlight the importance of the Tenn-Tom Waterway and the industry that depends on it.”

Mays said the Steel Dynamics facility, acquired in 2014, which makes up the SDI Flat Roll Group, Columbus Division, is a perfect example of that.

“The Tenn-Tom Waterway was a major contributing factor to Steel Dynamics choosing Columbus, Miss., to locate their steel manufacturing facility,” Mays said. “Steel Dynamics has had a tremendous impact on the area, and we’re thrilled the Tenn-Tom played a role in drawing them to the area.”

Mississippi Silicon, Tronox Inc., Port Itawamba, Yellow Creek Port and Enviva are just a few of the other ports and industrial operations that depend on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

“All of that happens because the Tenn-Tom was built years ago,” Mays said.

The familiarization tour will also highlight the partnership between private industry, state government and the Corps, which are integral to maintaining navigation on the waterway and developing industry along its banks, Mays said.

The grand opening of the Tenn-Tom project management office’s new administrative building is open to the public, but space is limited aboard the mv. Tenn-Tom for the October 6 waterway tour. For more information, contact the Tenn-Tom Authority by phone at 662-328-3286.