West Calcasieu Port awards contractor contract for barge basin expansion project

The following is a Press Release from the West Calcasieu Port:

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.