SULPHUR, La, Jan. 10, 2014– Assembly of a new barge loading ramp in the West Calcasieu Port west barge basin is underway underway and expected to be completed within a week.
The 190-acre West Calcasieu Port is located on the north shore of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway about two miles east of the Calcasieu River Waterway.
The new 80,000-pound capacity ramp was funded by a $640,000 grant from Devall Towing, the longest-standing tenant at the port. A 700-foot hard-surface road to the new ramp will be constructed in 2014 and is funded by a $250,000 economic development grant from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.
Orion Marine Group, another West Calcasieu Port tenant, is the contractor for the project.
“We expect to have the new ramp fully operational within a few weeks,” said Lynn Hohensee, port director. “The new state-of-the-art ramp could not come at a better time for our marine services port operations.
“Our aging existing barge loading ramp has experienced considerable wear and tear, including two major hurricanes, and has been showing its age,” he added. “The new ramp will allow us to accommodate a growing demand for the ramp services.”
Hohensee explained that due to the rapidly growing oil and gas exploration activity in the marshlands of Southwest Louisiana, many oilfield services companies have turned to shallow-water barges as an effective mode of transportation.
“The oilfield service companies use our ramp to drive their large service trucks onto barges at our port, and from there, they are moved by pushboats to locations in the marshlands where drilling activity occurs.”
Growing pains along the West Calcasieu Port’s waterfront also necessitated the need to reposition its barge loading ramp facilities.
“Early in 2013, the port was able to expand its marine services to include wet-barge cleaning and stripping operations,” Hohensee said. “This was made possible with the addition of two new tenants – United States Environmental Services and TRESCO.
“But, to adequately accommodate the new barge cleaning services, the barges needed to be positioned in such a way that they conflicted with the use of the port’s existing barge loading ramp,” he added. “Since, Devall Towing provided barge fleeting support to both the barge loading ramp services and the newly added wet barge cleaning/stripping services, they suggested that the port replace the existing barge loading ramp and position it at a new location – and they offered to fund the construction and installation of the new ramp.”
Hohensee emphasized that the new barge loading ramp project demonstrates the strong and long-lasting public-private partnership that exists between the West Calcasieu Port and Devall Towing.
“I would think there are few public entities in the state of Louisiana that can offer a better example of what can be achieved through the partnership of a port and its tenant,” he said.
Engineering support for the new loading ramp was provided by Meyer & Associates of Sulphur, the port’s engineer. The components of the new loading ramp were manufactured in Houston by King Fabricators, the company that constructed the Galveston, Texas, ferry ramps.
Hohensee said that the West Cal Port and its tenants offer a variety of specialized services that accommodate our regional marine operations community.
Located 12 miles south of Interstate 10 and just west of Highway 27, the West Calcasieu Port has 2,500 feet of waterfront property on the GIWW.
In addition to barge-fleeting operations and wet-barge cleaning/stripping services, port tenants also provide marine construction services, dry-barge cleaning services and diesel engine repair.