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Port traffic picks up

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By KEVIN KOELLING

Managing Editor

TELL CITY – The Perry County Port Authority had “a very busy month to date” as far as barge traffic goes, Kevin Teague reported at a regular meeting of its board of directors Nov. 13. 

“We kind of turned the corner from last month,”  the operations manager and trainmaster for the port-rail agency said. “I thought we had a pretty good month, especially for barge and truck traffic.”

Rail traffic was down for October, he reported, with 150 carloads moved versus 169 projected. That brought the year-to-date actual number to 983 against a projection of 985. The total up through October 2011 was 894.

Five barges were unloaded through October versus four planned, bringing the year-to-date total to two over the plan and three over the 2011 figure.

Truckloads totaled 18, three over the plan for October. The year-to-date total was 177, which was 51 over the plan for this year and 64 under last year’s total at this time.

“This month we’ve already unloaded seven barges in the first 13 days of the month,” Teague said, “and we’ve got two more to unload. The month is picking up very well.”

“As far as October,” he continued, “we did face some difficulties; we saw a slowdown. It’s reflected in the carloads more than anything else.”

Rail traffic was reduced as some cargo normally moved by that method shifted to barges, he added. The number of sand cars going to Waupaca was 14 fewer than planned and only one car of scrap iron moved versus eight planned. 

Eleven fewer cars of pig iron moved than was planned and neither of the two planned cars of coke moved.

Numbers for American Colloid were more favorable, with 12 of 14 planned cars of coal, 39 of 31 projected cars of clay and the one planned car of flour moving during October.

Consolidated Recycling’s numbers evened out. While it was down five cars on the inbound side, it was five over for outbound cars last month.

None of the 13 cars planned for other customers were moved.

“I think we’ll be a little stronger this month,” Teague said. “Our pig iron is way up. Scrap seems to be becoming a commodity again; it’s kind of hard to get ahold of.”

Board President Alvin Evans reported Hanson Engineering, whose office locations include Nashville, Tenn., and St. Louis, provided pricing on permitting and engineering for extending a concrete pad at the port that will more than double current storage space.

Teague said the company likes to work with ports and railroads “and they have contacts with companies all over the country, so if they know somebody’s looking to expand and looking for the things that we have to offer like rail … and port services … they don’t marry you, but they’ll set you up on a date.”

He provided information on offerings available at the Tell City Port and other local facilities in areas such as Santa Claus and Evanston, Teague added.

Evans said efforts to improve River Road were continuing to move along, with a quiet-claim action expected to take 30 days. Two owners of land in the area said they’d donate property for the right-of-way, he added, so all of the necessary property between River Road and Indiana 66 will be in the port authority’s name. He anticipated bid letting would occur in May, as previously planned.

An agreement was being drafted to relocate a sewer line running between Cannelton and Tell City, Evans also said. 

As the News reported Thursday, Cannelton Common Council members approved Nov. 12 agreements that would have the line moved at no cost to that city. 

Teague reported that work being performed under a federal Economic Development Administration grant remains headed for an end-of-year or January completion. He also said applications for Industrial Rail Service Fund 2013 grants must be submitted by Dec. 12, and success could bring $300,000 to the port.

“We could do a pretty good project with that,” he said.

The port-authority board will next meet at 5 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Hoosier Southern Railroad offices at 926 S. Boundary St. in Tell City.