Port road traffic on, barges off for now

Published 11:44 am Thursday, May 26, 2011

Traffic on the main road to the Port of Vicksburg appears safe as floodwaters recede, but cargo shipments on barges probably will not resume until at least late June when engineers can inspect loading facilities, Port Commission executive director Wayne Mansfield said Wednesday.

Shipments of dry cargo have ceased since the slack-water rise at the harbor earlier this month. Deliveries to 21 businesses at the port have continued because North Washington Street has remained dry between U.S. 61 North and the port, with the lowest spots protected by sand bins and walls of sandbags. About 6 to 7 feet of water covers the T-dock crane support platform and is inside the building housing a 15-ton overhead crane at the loading area, said Keith Cochran, local supervisor for Kinder Morgan Terminals, contract manager of the port’s loading area.

In 2007-08, the crane platform was replaced and reinforced. Tonnage of mainly dry cargo unloaded totaled 161,222 in 2010, down from 197,437 in 2009.

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Businesses must register with FEMA to be eligible for a loan through the Small Business Administration, said Matthew D. Young, a spokesman with SBA. Separate loans are available for physical property damage and for paying bills as a business recovers. Individuals seeking financial assistance are encouraged by FEMA to apply for loans through SBA first, then, if denied, their case moves back to FEMA for grant eligibility.

Disaster loans from SBA are offered to businesses at 4 percent and require businesses tto turn in current documents including a profit-loss statement, balance sheet, schedule of liabilities, personal financial statement, list of monthly sales for the past three years and three years worth of tax returns. Applicants must also fill out a form which will allow the Internal Revenue Service to supply SBA with tax transcripts, Young said.

Nonprofit organization loans, which Young said can include churches, are offered at 3 percent.