PHOTOS AND STORY PUBLISHED BY KOTV NEWS ON 6, DECEMBER 2021
CATOOSA, Oklahoma – While ports in California are dealing with massive backlogs of shipping containers, the Tulsa Ports of Catoosa and Inola have been working to be a part of the solution in the ongoing supply chain problems.
Tulsa Ports, which oversees the Ports of Catoosa and Inola, told News On 6 there are ways to get the massive containers on the inland system. Leaders are excited to see how they can help make that happen.
The Tulsa Port of Catoosa has no problem moving barges that are equivalent to 60 semi-trucks, carrying mainly agricultural products, chemical fertilizers, and steel.
Tulsa Ports said it has shipped 87 million tons since 1971.
Tulsa Ports Director, David Yarbrough, said over the last few years, staff has been figuring out how to start shipping containers, which mainly carry imports from Asia.
“Places like Plaquemines in Louisiana, they’re spending a billion dollars to build a new container facility, working with Maersk,” explained Yarbrough. “That will allow us direct access to the Gulf of Mexico to start bringing containers up on the Mississippi River and hopefully the Arkansas River.”
Yarbrough said getting containers on the inland system would help ease backlogs at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“This just highlights a greater opportunity for us to take advantage of,” said Yarbrough. “Our biggest benefit right now, or chance to get this done, is many companies are willing to do the green initiative now.”
The Tulsa Port of Catoosa said it currently hosts 60 companies, which employ more than 2,000 people.
Yarbrough hopes those numbers will grow as the ports collaborate with others.
“We are always going to educate ourselves, so I’ve got staff members that are going to go visit some of those Louisiana ports,” explained Yarbrough. “We have an established relationship with many of those ports, Port of New Orleans and others we have shipped bulk commodities historically.”
Yarbrough said it could take a couple of years before our local ports start shipping containers.