It’s time county and others invest in Vicksburg port improvements

Published 9:23 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Warren County Board of Supervisors at its work session on Monday got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is an as-yet-to-be-named company is interested in dramatically increasing its use of the port, which could increase the amount of tonnage of goods that pass through the port fivefold.

The bad news is, the port needs an investment of between $5 and $6 million to handle that work.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

State Rep. Alex Monsour, R-Vicksburg, who along with Chris Maxwell of Watco Terminal and Port Services, the company that manages day-to-day operations at the port, attended Monday’s supervisors’ work session to discuss the potential deal.

The two aren’t naming the company yet because of a confidentiality agreement signed between the company and the port’s management. However, they did say the company does business at the Port of Vicksburg from time to time now.

The port now handles a total of about 65,000 tons of goods a year. This company is proposing to bring 250,000 to 400,000 additional tons of goods through the port each year.

However, that deal hinges on improvements at the port, such as a new crane, which costs about $1.85 million; a one- to two-acres outside concrete pad for $550,000 per acre; a new front-end loader for $355,000; winches, road improvements; three off-road trucks; and fencing.

Maxwell said Watco will pay $3.3 million of the project, and Monsour said the Mississippi Development Authority might have funds that could be used. The county would be asked to pitch in funds as well.

It would behoove the county, the state and others involved to work quickly and diligently to make these improvements, which have been needed for some time at the port.

Doing so will not only go far toward making this deal a reality, but could also be an enticement for other port business, perhaps some business that would involve the proposed Continental Tire plant being built in Clinton.

We need our facilities ready and waiting when new business comes calling.