With the dramatic downturn in oil and gas prices and five floods from May 31, 2015 to May 2, 2016, there are many challenges facing our economy in general and The Port specifically. However, The Caddo-Bossier Parishes Port Commission has worked steadfastly through the years to diversify the “economy” of The Port to successfully meet such economic headwinds.
The Port has close to 20 miles of rail track within the Port complex and in addition to managing the rail switching and servicing to our tenants and non-tenant customers, we also have a portion of our rail track that we have for rail storage. The Port leases track space to customers from all over the country. At times when certain manufacturing sectors are down, not as many rail cars are in use and the need for rail storage is up. As a result The Port’s rail car storage revenues are projected to reach a new high this year. We are booking contracts, resulting in strong revenue for the Port.
Despite floods which impacted the condition of the Red River in March and May of 2016, barge traffic is picking up. Just last month we received a sizeable shipment of steel coils and this month The Port received another Superload headed to east Texas. Although barge revenue is projected to be down 28% year over year, barge traffic is doing better than expected.
Inevitably the oil and gas downturn had a large impact on rail tonnage at The Port. However because of The Port’s diverse and strengthening manufacturing base, even rail tonnage is only expected to be down 16% year over year.
Yes, 2016 definitely is a challenging year economically, but, as Commission president, Sam Gregorio, commented during a recent meeting, “We’ve gone through the floods; we’ve gone through the oil and gas downturn; we are now halfway through the year and we are projecting a stronger profit than we even budgeted before the two floods of 2016.”
Thanks to the wisdom of the citizens of Caddo and Bossier parishes, this economic engine known as The Port of Caddo-Bossier continues to not only attract investments from the global manufacturing sector, create good jobs for our citizens of Caddo and Bossier parishes, but also build an infrastructure that delivers revenue even when the national economy is stressed.
The Port’s Board of Commissioners, as well as The Port’s staff, functions in full transparency with the goal that the public is not only invited but encouraged to learn more about The Port, its mission, and its actions on behalf of the citizens of Caddo and Bossier parishes.
Eric England, Director
Port of Caddo-Bossier