2011

West Calcasieu Port Awards Contractor Contract for Barge Basin Expansion Project

SULPHUR, La, Dec. 7, 2011 – The West Calcasieu Port board of commissioners voted this week to award the contract for the expansion dredging of the port’s west barge basin to.Apollo Environmental Strategies, Inc. of Beaumont, Texas.

The successful bid of $2,117,835 was the lowest among eight bids received by the port during its competitive public bid process.

“The West Cal Port board of commissioners was encouraged to have received such a large number of bid packets for the project,” said Matt Vincent, president of the West Calcasieu Port board. “The commissioners were equally impressed with the quality of the contractors that were interested in the port’s project and spent a considerable amount of time reviewing all of the data and information included in the packets.”

Lynn Hohensee, WCP director noted that the West Calcasieu Port will work closely with local, state and federal officials to make sure that all dredging operations are in line with regulatory permits for the project and that an aggressive time schedule is followed for the barge basin expansion dredging.

“The West Cal Port and its tenants offer a variety of specialized services within the marine operations community, and high on that list is commercial shallow-water barge fleeting operations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway,” he said. “Demand for barge fleeting facilities in Southwest Louisiana has grown over the last several years, and all regional economic indicators point to a continuing growth in that demand.

“For that reason,” he continued, “our port board of commissioners have led the way in securing the necessary state funding support to expand our existing barge basin by approximately 800 linear feet to accommodate an additional 25-30 barges.”

Hohensee noted that when the expansion of the basin located on the north shore of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is completed, it will have a capacity to accommodate 75 to 90 barges.

WCP Engineer Chuck Stutes with Sulphur-based Meyer & Associates has estimated that approximately 175,000 cubic yards of spoil will be dredged to accommodate the expansion of the barge basin.  The depth of the dredging is slated for 12 feet.

The dredged spoils will be used for environmental beneficial use as well as economic beneficial use.

“Approximately 15 percent of the spoils will be piped to an existing open water area on the west end of the port’s property where it will be distributed to create 12 acres of new marshland,” Hohensee said.  “The remainder of the spoils will be piped to the port’s existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-approved 40-acre spoils reception area.

“Our long-term plan for that area is to use dredge spoils to elevate the 40-acre site to 11 feet above sea level, at which time, it will become a prime business development site,” he explained.

Hohensee noted that the port’s largest and oldest tenant, Devall Towing, currently operates one of the largest barge fleeting operations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and that the company has seen a marked increase in demand for barge anchorage in Southwest Louisiana.

Significant funding support will come from a $2.3 million Port Priority Fund grant awarded to the port by the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development.

“The Port Priority Fund grant is limited to 90 percent of the construction costs related to the expansion project,” Hohensee said.  “The port is using internal funding to cover the costs associated with the balance of the construction costs as well as the engineering and permitting costs associated with the project.”

Located 12 miles south of Interstate 10 and just west of Highway 27, the WCP has 2,500 feet of waterfront property on the GIWW.

Current tenant activity includes barge-fleeting operations, marine construction, dry cargo barge cleaning and diesel engine repair.

West Cal Port Seeking Bidders for Dredging Project

Posted: Oct 24, 2011 10:35 AM CDT Updated: Oct 24, 2011 5:35 PM CDT

By Theresa Schmidt – bio
The West Cal Port is seeking bids for dredging that, once complete, will allow for expansion.

It’s not always easy to find a parking space– especially when you are looking for a spot to park a big barge. But the West Cal Port is adding slots in a project good for the economy and the environment.

Compared to the Port of Lake Charles,  the West Calcasieu Port is small. Yet the 190 acre port is strategically located between New Orleans and Houston on the Intracoastal Waterway. And Port Director Lynn Hohensee says the expansion plan creates potential. “We have an opportunity to see this as a catalyst for the growth of jobs, growth of industrial tax base, and also the growth of business.”

The port has received a $2.3 million grant from the State Department of Transportation and Development. That, along with a local match, will be used for expansion dredging of the port’s west barge basin. Said Hohensee, “With this money we are going to expand our existing barge basin by about twenty five to thirty slips to accommodate more barges. This is about 800 linear feet of shoreline.”

Hohensee says the material dredged will be used to create about twelve acres of new marsh–which helps offset damage from erosion and hurricanes.. And help build up land they can one day use for more tenants. “It’s about a forty acre site that’s all levied off and as we continue to put our spoils in there we are building up hopefully, at some point in time down the road, to about eleven foot above sea level elevation which will make it prime business development property on the Intracoastal Waterway here in Southwest Louisiana.”

They plan to open bids November 16th and hope there will be some dredging underway before the end of the year.

Including the local contribution,  it’s a project of more than three million dollars. Any potential bidders who want more information should contact Meyer and Associates.

 

West Calcasieu Port Begins Bidding Process

“The West Cal Port will begin advertising …in local and state publications to alert maritime excavation contractors and other interested parties that we are seeking qualified, competitive bids for the dredging project,” said West Calcasieu Port Director Lynn Hohensee.  “The bids will be formally opened on Nov. 16, 2011.”

“Incorporated in this dredging project plan is the transfer of a portion of the dredged spoils in an environmentally beneficial manner to create between 11 and 12 acres of new marshland in open water on the port’s property,” he added.  “Finding an environmentally beneficial use for the dredged material helps offset damage inflicted on our port property by hurricanes and other coastal erosion conditions – a situation that has become more prevalent in Southwest Louisiana coastal areas over the past several years.”

Underscoring the business-case need for the expanded barge basin, Hohensee noted that servicing commercial barge transportation operations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is a critical component of the port’s operations, and that the port has experienced an increased occupancy rate for its barge basin facilities.

“In addition to increased barge fleeting demand at the West Cal Port in 2011, we also are anticipating an even-larger demand for fleeting services and barge-parking space in Southwest Louisiana as our regional industrial base continues to grow,” Hohensee added.

Hohensee noted that the port’s board of commissioners is anxious to attract qualified contractors through the port’s competitive bidding process during the month of November, a timeframe required by state law.

“We then will identify the most competitive proposal from a qualified bidder as soon as possible so that we can begin the barge basin expansion project before year’s end,” he added

West Cal Port Engineer Chuck Stutes of Sulphur-based Meyer & Associates, Inc. has estimated that approximately 175,000 cubic yards of spoil will need to be dredged in order to expand the port’s west barge basin by 800 linear feet – enough space to accommodate an additional 25-30 barges.  Dredging of the eight-acre area will be completed to an approximate depth of 12 feet.

“The dredged spoils will be deposited at two locations on port property,” explained Hohensee.  “While most of the spoils will be relocated by pipeline to a 40-acre spoils-reception area at the port that has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, approximately 15 percent of the soil will be piped to a shallow open-water area on the west end of the port property.”

Hohensee explained that the WCP’s longest-standing tenant, Devall Towing, currently operates one of the largest barge fleeting operations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and that demand for quality barge docking space is essential if the company is to meet growing demand for shallow-water maritime transportation in Southwest Louisiana.

Significant funding support will come from a $2.3 million Port Priority Fund grant from the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development.

“The state grant will cover 90 percent of the construction costs associated with the barge basin expansion project,” Hohensee said.  “The port is responsible for the remaining 10 percent of the construction costs and all of the expenses associated with engineering and permitting requirements.”

Located on 190 acres 12 miles south of Interstate 10 just west of Highway 27, the West Cal Port has 2,500 feet of waterfront property on the GIWW.

Current tenant activity includes barge operations, dry-cargo barge cleaning, diesel engine repair, heavy-equipment contracting and maritime construction operations.

Potential bidders seeking additional information on the port’s dredging project are encouraged to contact Meyer & Associates (337-625-8353) for copies of bid documents.

West Calcasieu Port Solicits Contractor Bids for Barge Basin Expansion Project

SULPHUR, La, (Oct.. 18, 2011) – West Calcasieu Port officials announced today that it has begun seeking bids for expansion dredging of the port’s west barge basin located along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

“The West Cal Port will begin advertising this week in local and state publications to alert maritime excavation contractors and other interested parties that we are seeking qualified, competitive bids for the dredging project,” said West Calcasieu Port Director Lynn Hohensee.  “The bids will be formally opened on Nov. 16, 2011.”

“Incorporated in this dredging project plan is the transfer of a portion of the dredged spoils in an environmentally beneficial manner to create between 11 and 12 acres of new marshland in open water on the port’s property,” he added.  “Finding an environmentally beneficial use for the dredged material helps offset damage inflicted on our port property by hurricanes and other coastal erosion conditions – a situation that has become more prevalent in Southwest Louisiana coastal areas over the past several years.”

Underscoring the business-case need for the expanded barge basin, Hohensee noted that servicing commercial barge transportation operations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is a critical component of the port’s operations, and that the port has experienced an increased occupancy rate for its barge basin facilities.

“In addition to increased barge fleeting demand at the West Cal Port in 2011, we also are anticipating an even-larger demand for fleeting services and barge-parking space in Southwest Louisiana as our regional industrial base continues to grow,” Hohensee added.

Hohensee noted that the port’s board of commissioners is anxious to attract qualified contractors through the port’s competitive bidding process during the month of November, a timeframe required by state law.

“We then will identify the most competitive proposal from a qualified bidder as soon as possible so that we can begin the barge basin expansion project before year’s end,” he added

West Cal Port Engineer Chuck Stutes of Sulphur-based Meyer & Associates, Inc. has estimated that approximately 175,000 cubic yards of spoil will need to be dredged in order to expand the port’s west barge basin by 800 linear feet – enough space to accommodate an additional 25-30 barges.  Dredging of the eight-acre area will be completed to an approximate depth of 12 feet.

“The dredged spoils will be deposited at two locations on port property,” explained Hohensee.  “While most of the spoils will be relocated by pipeline to a 40-acre spoils-reception area at the port that has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, approximately 15 percent of the soil will be piped to a shallow open-water area on the west end of the port property.”

Hohensee explained that the WCP’s longest-standing tenant, Devall Towing, currently operates one of the largest barge fleeting operations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and that demand for quality barge docking space is essential if the company is to meet growing demand for shallow-water maritime transportation in Southwest Louisiana.

Significant funding support will come from a $2.3 million Port Priority Fund grant from the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development.

“The state grant will cover 90 percent of the construction costs associated with the barge basin expansion project,” Hohensee said.  “The port is responsible for the remaining 10 percent of the construction costs and all of the expenses associated with engineering and permitting requirements.”

Located on 190 acres 12 miles south of Interstate 10 just west of Highway 27, the West Cal Port has 2,500 feet of waterfront property on the GIWW.

Current tenant activity includes barge operations, dry-cargo barge cleaning, diesel engine repair, heavy-equipment contracting and maritime construction operations.

Potential bidders seeking additional information on the port’s dredging project are encouraged to contact Meyer & Associates (337-625-8353) for copies of bid documents.

# # # #

Kennison Elected West Calcasieu Port Board President

SULPHUR, La, October 5, 2011 – Sulphur businessman Joseph R. “Dick” Kennison was elected president of the West Calcasieu Port board of commissioners during the port board’s monthly meeting this week.

The term is for one year. He succeeds Matt Vincent who has left the board after several years of committed service.

The five-member board also elected Wilmer Dugas as vice president and Tim Dougherty as secretary/treasurer.

Kennison is a 43-year veteran of the forestry and lumber industry. He currently serves as Chairman & Chief Executive Officer for Sulphur-based Kennison Forest Products, Inc., a position he has held since 1997. Prior to that, he was president of Kenfor Division of Elder Forest Products in Sulphur for 18 years.

Kennison’s extensive community service includes six years on the Sulphur City Council (serving twice as council chairman), West Calcasieu Association of Commerce member (president in 2003), Chairman of the Chamber Southwest Board of Directors in 2008, Rotary Club of Sulphur, Maplewood-Hollywood Lions Club, Knights of Columbus Council, Care Help Inc. of Sulphur, Sulphur Industrial Development Board, West Cal Cam Hospital Finance Committee and IRB Board for the Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.

Kennison has been named the City of Sulphur Volunteer of the Year (2005), the Outstanding Service Award by the Habitat for Humanity (2002), the WCAC Citizen of the Year (2002) and the YMBC President’s Award (1980).

Sulphur Businessman Named to West Calcasieu Port Board of Commissioners

D_AguillardSULPHUR, La, July 18, 2011 – Sulphur businessman Dave  F. Aguillard has been appointed to the West Calcasieu Port five-person board of commissioners by the Ward Four Calcasieu Parish Police Jurors.
Aguillard’s appointment was confirmed by resolution of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury on July 7, 2011.
His term will expire in October 2014.   Aguillard assumed a port board commissioner position that was previously held by Brent Clement, who resigned to fill a vacant position on the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.  Clement had been president of the WCP board at the time of his resignation.
WCP Board Vice President Matt Vincent will serve as interim president of the port’s board of commissioners until board officer elections are held in October 2011.
Aguillard, 63, has been a resident of Sulphur since 1966.  Originally from Eunice, La., he graduated from Breaux Bridge High School and attended McNeese State University.
Aguillard has been self-employed since 1984 as the founder/president of Bullet Communications, Inc.  Prior to opening his business, he was employed by South Central Bell Telephone Company and Bell Telephone Company for 12 years.
He served five years on the Sulphur Housing Authority, and was chairman for five years.  He also has served on the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Board for three years.
Aguillard and his wife, Marion, have one son, Brandon.  They are members of Maplewood First Baptist Church.

Area Ports Working Together: Six Southwest Louisiana Ports have Formed Network

That Southwest Louisiana has six ports may come as a surprise to many people — and that’s something one local group hopes to change.
Two years ago, representatives from each of the six ports began meeting quarterly to discuss common problems and solutions. The meetings evolved into the Southwest Louisiana Port Network.
Its members are the Port of Lake Charles, the east and west Cameron ports, the West Calcasieu Port, and the Mermentau River and Vinton harbor and terminal districts.
“The Southwest Louisiana maritime industry is in a better position to react to opportunities in concert, rather than separately,” said Lynn Hohensee, West Calcasieu Port director.
Ernest Broussard, director of planning and development for Cameron Parish and an agent for both of the parish’s ports, agrees.
“As the port and the parish partner to pursue economic development, the professional relationship established with the other ports really does create a synergy for the entire region,” he said.
“Each member of the network is an excellent platform to project the collective maritime strengths of the region, with each entity having a unique niche in the industrial base without really competing among its stakeholders.”
What they’re selling Southwest Louisiana’s ports are commercial gateways — via deep water, planes, trains — to many of the region’s major industries.
“These ports, first and foremost, are economic development engines, each with the ability to recruit businesses and create jobs,” Hohensee said.
“All of the ports working together are making coordinated regional economic development their top priority .”
The state offers a 5 percent tax credit to those who invest in ports, and property tax abatements and Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds remain available for the seven hardest-hit parishes, according to Hohensee.
Also of interest to potential clients is the availability of land at the ports. Hohensee said most major ports in the U.S. are landlocked and have nothing to offer those looking to build. And, according to the Waterways Council, a maritime public policy advocate, moving freight by water is the most energy efficient and environmentally sound commodities transport method.
According to the council, barges can move a ton of cargo 576 miles for every gallon of fuel; the distances for a rail car and a truck are 413 and 155 miles.
From the beginning, the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has backed the network with support and suggestions.
The alliance has underwritten the cost of a network brochure and has paid for its involvement in regional trade shows.
They sponsored a 30-second television ad that ran throughout the region between October and December.
“It gives us a stronger story to tell if we can talk about six ports each with their own specialties. Their willingness to work together sends a tremendous signal to those looking to locate here,” said alliance President George Swift.
“We’ll be able to point prospects in the best direction for them.”SW LA. PORTS
Each of the six ports within the Southwest Louisiana Port Network has its own niche:

The Port of Lake Charles — A general cargo port located 34 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. Its jurisdiction encompasses about 65 miles of waterway. It has a 95-acre dock facility that handles grain and a 71-acre bulk terminal at Rose Bluff Cutoff that handles petroleum coke, wood chips and other dry bulk commodities.
It has four properties for lease: 170 acres off Lincoln Road; 296 acres in the Industrial Park East near Chennault; 54 acres in Westlake on the Calcasieu River; and 98 acres off the Calcasieu Ship Channel.
The West Cameron Port — A deepwater access port located on the Gulf; it has shallow draft capabilities and is home to two LNG plants, with a third set to be constructed in the next three years.
The East Cameron Port — It grants access to the Gulf through the Mermentau River estuary and offers properties and large infrastructure. It and the western port account for about 60 percent of the revenue for Cameron Parish.
The West Calcasieu Port — A 190-acre port located halfway between Houston and New Orleans on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, two miles west of the Calcasieu Ship Channel and close to Interstate 10. It accommodates repair and construction support businesses and a barge-towing provider.
Vinton Harbor and Terminal District — The port, reopened a decade ago after a period of inactivity, sits seven miles north of the Intracoastal Waterway. It comprises 320 acres of land, a small dock and a 20,500-square-foot commercial building.
Mermentau River Harbor and Terminal District — The port, located on the Mermentau River, one mile north of U.S. 90, features a slip and 12 acres of land. Its cargo includes inbound aggregates, fertilizer, rough rice, rice hull compost, and outbound rice and soybeans.

Sulphur Businessman Named to West Calcasieu Port Board

scottSULPHUR, La, January 15, 2011 – Sulphur businessman Scott Foreman has been appointed to the West Calcasieu Port five-person board of commissioners by the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce.

Aguillard’s appointment was confirmed by resolution of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury on Jan. 10, 2013. His term will expire in October 2017.

Foreman assumed a port board commissioner position that was previously held by Matt Vincent, who resigned for personal reasons in October 2012. Vincent had been serving as the president of the WCP board at the time of his resignation.
Foreman, 37, has been a resident of Sulphur since 2003. Originally from Ragley, La., he graduated from South Beauregard High School and the Commonwealth Institute in Houston.

Foreman began working in the Hixson Funeral Homes organization in 1997, and currently serves as manager of the Hixson-Sulphur Memorial Funeral Home and Hixson Funeral Home of Vinton.

He currently serves on the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce board of directors and is a member and past secretary/board member of the Sulphur Rotary Club. He also is a member of the Krewe

de la Louisiane.

Foreman has two children, Seth and Callie, and they are members of Maplewood First Baptist Church.

# # # #

(1/15/13)

West Cal Port: Moving Economic Development Forward into the New Year

jan03By Staff Reports
Southwest Daily News
Sulphur, La. —
If you talk with Lynn Hohensee, director of the West Calcasieu Port, about the growth of economic development in Southwest Louisiana, he immediately will focus on the critical need for a strong
maritime industry sector that historically has served “as the foundation for prosperous growth of nearly all other regional business sectors.”
The 190-acre West Cal Port, as it is locally called, is located 12 miles south of Interstate 10 on La. 27 in Sulphur, and has been an integral part of West Calcasieu’s growth and expansion in recent years.
“All you have to do is go back into our regional history and see the critical transportation role of our indigent waterways to the industrial and commercial growth of our five-parish region,” Hohensee explained.
He cited many examples, including the vibrant commercial and sport fishing industry, the first sulfur mines in Calcasieu Parish, the harvesting of pine and cypress forests in several parishes, the development of an integrated petrochemical industrial community, the expansion of a prosperous hospitality and gaming industry, and last, but not least, the rich farming and agricultural business establishment that grows and produces food for a world market.
“Without readily available shallow and deep water transportation, I shudder to think how much of our regional economic base would have never been developed,” Hohensee said. “But, even though Mother Nature blessed Southwest Louisiana with great waterways, it is up to those of us who benefit from the waterways to make sure they are cared for and properly maintained.”
Fortunately for Southwest Louisiana, that effort is being led by local ports.
“Our corner of the state is blessed with a strong line up of progressive ports,” he explained. “Most folks are well aware of the Port of Lake Charles, which is the nation’s 11th largest port.
“But, we also have the West and East Cameron ports, the Port of Vinton, the Mermentau Port and the West Calcasieu Port,” he added. “For the past two and a half years, all six ports have worked closely together within the Southwest Louisiana Port Network.
Collectively, the ports work very closely with local, state and federal agencies, waterway users and local, state and federal elected officials to prioritize an effective maintenance program for the waterways – primarily the Calcasieu River Waterway and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
“A significant part of this effort is spearheaded through the Calcasieu River Waterway Harbor Safety Committee,” he said. “The committee has proven to provide great ‘common ground’ for the multi-agency/organizational approach to keeping our waterways operational year-round.
Hohensee explained that while the SWLA ports are working well together, they continue to support their own public entity identity.
“Each port really has its own niche,” he said.
“Our strength at the West Cal Port is our location on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, just two miles west of the Calcasieu River Waterway,” Hohensee added.
“While we continue to grow and develop as a services-oriented port, our long-term mission also encompasses a strategy to recruit industrial tenants that have a strategic need for shallow water transportation to bring in feedstock and barge out finished products.
“We anticipate that these clients have the potential to have a tremendous impact on the growth of capital investment, jobs and tax revenue for the parish and the state.”
The most positive impact for the West Cal Port came in 2009 when it successfully completed the maintenance dredging of the port’s west barge basin.
The basin was in bad need of repair prior to 2005, but it was in even more disrepair following Hurricane Rita and then three years later, Hurricane Ike. It took a tremendous team effort by the port’s team to secure a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Transportation and Development’s Port Priority Fund.
These funds, combined with recovery funding by FEMA and the public funding provided by the City of Sulphur and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, made the improvements possible.
“At that point, the West Cal Port again was able to serve as a critical operations center in Southwest Louisiana for “brown water” maritime transportation ¯ that means shallow-water barging operations,” Hohensee said. “But our port board of commissioners knew more could be done to serve our existing tenants and attract new tenants.”
At that point, Hohensee cited the quality leadership provided to the facility by the port’s board of commissioners – Brent Clement (president), Matt Vincent (vice president), Tim Dougherty (secretary/treasurer), Wilmer Dugas and Dick Kennison.
“So,” he continued, “just three months after we completed the maintenance dredging of the west barge basin, we applied to the Louisiana DOTD for a second Port Priority Funding grant designed to fund the expansion of the basin by some 800 feet to the west – enough space for an additional 30 barges and potentially new barge-supporting businesses.”
DOTD officials in Baton Rouge recognized the value of the project and in March 2010 recommended to the Louisiana Legislature that it approve a $2.3 million grant for the project. Later that spring, the legislature did approve the grant.
While the grant covers 90 percent of the construction costs, the remaining 10 percent, as well as the costs of engineering and permitting, are the responsibility of the port.
“While I would be remiss if I didn’t say we feel the financial pinch of the project’s costs not covered by the grant,” Hohensee said, “we are confident that the expansion of the barge basin will pay great dividends for the port, its tenants and our community.”
Hohensee noted that the West Cal Port team has been working closely to secure the necessary state and federal permits needed to develop the project without negatively impacting the number of acres of wetlands involved.
“We’ve enjoyed great support from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” he said.
“In fact, a consortium of representatives from those departments – partnering with DOTD officials – have used the West Cal Port barge basin expansion project as “testing project” to collectively identify opportunities to streamline the permitting processes for Port Priority Funding projects,” he added. “As a result, we are in line to move our port project up the DOTD queue by several years.”
As a result of this project, the port will be able to create more than twice as much wetlands acreage as it will take out of commission and divert the badly needed remaining dredge spoils to a federally approved spoils reception area on the port property.
“It is in our long-range strategic plan to eventually transform the spoils reception area into a valued 40-acre site at an elevation above 11 feet that will be perfect for industrial development,” Hohensee explained. “We are expecting to have the permitting and engineering work completed and to go out for competitive bid on the expansion work sometime in the first quarter of 2011.”
Having a quality and expansive barge basin is spurring other new growth opportunities as well as prospective new tenants continue to show interest in the port.
Shortly after the maintenance dredging project was completed, the West Cal Port attracted F. Miller Construction, a division of Houston-based Orion Marine Group. In November 2009, the company moved its field operations to the port which brought dozens of critical jobs to the port.
Since then, F. Miller Construction has leveraged its waterfront construction operations and landed several significant marine construction projects, the least not being the improvements currently being made to the fenders that support the I-210 columns where the roadway spans the Calcasieu River.
“All sheet and ridged steel needed for the project is being delivered to the West Cal Port where teams of F. Miller Construction contract workers are ‘prepping’ the steel prior to transporting it by barge to the worksite,” Hohensee said. “This project alone has created a flurry of activity never seen before at the port.”
While F. Miller Construction is the port’s newest tenant, Devall Enterprises remains the largest and oldest tenant.
“The Devall family has used the West Cal Port for a large portion of its barge transportation facilitation for nearly all of the company’s 50-plus years of existence,” he said.
“Earlier this past year, Devall Enterprises opened its new corporate headquarters on Swisco Road in Sulphur,” he added. “While this physical expansion created an opportunity to relocate Devall Diesel Repair Services from the West Cal Port to the Swisco Road site, the company continues to use the port as its anchor location for its barge operations.
“In addition,” he continued, “Devall Enterprises will be growing its fleet of tugboats in early 2011 and intends to replace the diesel repair business with another family-operated business at the port.”
While Hohensee is excited about the growth and potential for the West Cal Port, he also framed that development with the strategic growth of all six Southwest Louisiana ports.
“All of our ports are public entities that were created by the Louisiana Legislature,” he said. “First and foremost, all of the ports view themselves as economic development “engines” designed to foster and promote economic growth in Southwest Louisiana and recruit businesses and create jobs.”
When port representatives gather for the quarterly SWLA Port Network meetings, much information is exchanged on how each port is doing in relationship to marketing their respective port to the maritime community, working with state and regional economic development professionals, tending to the needs of port tenants and serving as a steward of the public taxpayers’ port investment.
From a marketing standpoint, the SWLA Port Network – with the assistance of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance – attended regional tradeshows in 2010, and the ports have staffed a single booth to promote Southwest Louisiana. Additional tradeshows are being identified for 2011.
Another recent marketing effort highlighted the SWLA Port Network and included a recent case study of the organization in the November/December issue of the Trade & Industry Development Magazine, a business recruitment/economic development publication sent to more than 25,000 site selectors. George Swift, President/CEO of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance played a key role in orchestrating the case study feature article.
The SWLA Port Network also sponsored a 30-second commercial message that aired on cable services throughout the five-parish area from October through December. Sponsorship support was also provided by the SWLA Economic Development Alliance and the Lake Charles River Pilots. The message was produced by the Waterways Council, Inc. of Washington, D.C., and documented the value of inland barge transportation to the nation’s economy and environment.
“But, most basic to all of the SWLA Port Network member ports is a commitment to operating with the highest standard of ethics and in an environmentally sensitive manner,” Hohensee emphasized. “To this end and within that framework, all of the ports working together are making coordinated regional economic development their top priority.”
In regards to the West Cal Port, Hohensee predicts that the port will continue to serve as a catalyst for the expansion of business, commerce and industry along La. 27 from Sulphur southbound into Cameron Parish.