County postpones crane quotes

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Warren County officials delayed taking quotes on a repairing a 15-ton overhead crane at the Port of Vicksburg in hopes of getting more firms interested in the project.

“We’ve heard from several vendors that were potential quoters on the project and they indicated they wouldn’t be able to submit a quote because there was not sufficient time to look at the crane and get their numbers together,” County Engineer John McKee told the board of supervisors Monday.

Supervisors decided to open quotes at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 at their next regular meeting.

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“We’re opening up two more weeks to let people get in and look at the crane and get their numbers together,” McKee said.

Sept. 21, the board declared a state of emergency to repair the crane. Declaring an emergency allows the county to bypass state regulations on bids and instead receive quotes. Board President Bill Lauderdale suggested the board reconvene as soon as possible but agreed that two weeks would give out-of-town vendors plenty of time to examine the 40-year-old overhead crane.

“There’s not that many people qualified to do that work close by,” Lauderdale said.

McKee has estimated the cost of repairing the crane at about $150,000.  Replacing the crane could cost about $2 million, he said. Under its agreement with Watco, the company that operates the port, Warren County pays $187 per day for each day the crane is out of operation in addition to losing revenue based on the amount of tonnage shipped out of the port. “It’s costing us money every day we don’t get something working up there,” Lauderdale said. Repairs to the crane are expected to take months because the company that manufactured the crane is out of business and parts must be machined.