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Welcome Aboard (October 2008)

Welcome Aboard (October 2008)



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Published by Port of Beaumont

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Published by: Port of Beaumont on Oct 15, 2008
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Port of Beaumont Navigation District of Jefferson County, Texas1225 Main Street Beaumont, Texas 77701 ●(409) 835-5367 ● (409) 835-0512 FAX ●
Online at www.portofbeaumont.com
Agreements spell growth for port and city
The Port of Beaumont’s $52 million ex-pansion program received a major boost inJuly with two agreements that will comple-ment the port’s projected growth and helpcity leaders with their push to redevelopdowntown Beaumont.Marking the end of a 15-year effort, theport signed agreements with three major railroad companies and the Texas Depart-ment of Transportation to begin transplant-ing a set of five railroad tracks betweenBeaumont City Hall and the Neches River toextend an existing rail yard within the port.Representatives of the three railroads—Burlington Northern & Santa Fe (BNSF),Kansas City Southern Railway and UnionPacific—joined port officials and local, stateand federal elected officials and their repre-sentatives for a signing ceremony at the porton July 28.The $16 million tab for the changes willbe covered by a mix of funding including $7million from the Federal Highway Admini-stration’s Congestion Mitigation Air Quality(CMAQ) funds, $5.1 million secured throughthe 2005 federal transportation bill by U.S.Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas).The port will contribute $4.8 million of itsown funds to cover design and constructioncosts.The project will greatly enhance theport’s rail infrastructure, providing more than350 additional railcar spares and tripling theport’s loading and unloading tracks. Thechanges will allow the port to better serviceits customers and provide new cargo growthopportunities.Though one track will remain, removingthe other tracks will free up about eightacres along the river. The city will then pressforward with plans to develop a riverfrontcommercial district as part of ongoing resto-ration and revitalization efforts in downtownBeaumont.
Director’s note
Pictured above at the signing ceremony are (seated, l. to r.) Port commissioner Nell Clark, board vice presidentHenry Nix and board president Pete Shelton. (Standing, l. to, r.) BNSF Railroad representative Larry Baker, GilWilson and Beaumont district engineer Howard Holland with the Texas Department of Transportation, Beau-mont city councilman W.L. Pate, Jefferson County commissioner Eddie Arnold, Texas state senator TommyWilliams, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames, Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker, port commissioner Lee Smith,Jefferson County commissioner Bo Alfred, port commissioner Louis Broussard, Jr., Union Pacific Railroadrepresentative Owen Durkin, port board secretary-treasurer Georgine Guillory, Ron Bird with Kansas CitySouthern Railway, port director Chris Fisher and Brandon Steenson of Kansas City Southern.
A BNSF train lugs a load of windmill nacellesthrough the riverfront rail yard between Beaumont CityHall and the Neches River.
The city plans to develop a riverfront recrea-tion district in the rail yard’s place. The project willstretch the length of downtown and include a canaland small inlet seen in the artist’s rendering below(Image courtesy City of Beaumont)
David C. Fisher Director, Port of Beaumont
Ike strikes, Gustav missesand Edouard bluffs
Port hosts official visitors
Coast Guard gets ready 
How to stack a vessel on avessel 
Key plank of capital improvement program begins
Ike couldn’t dimSoutheast Texas’spirit to press on
Southeast Texas mayhave been bruised andbattered by HurricaneIke’s hard swipe morethan a month ago but thearea today is very much still in business.In the same manner as after hurricanes Ritaand Humberto, neighbors helped neighbors assoon as winds abated to jumpstart recovery.Piles of splintered trees and debris fromhomes and businesses continue to vanish astime passes. Essential services were restoredthroughout the region far sooner than initiallyexpected.Despite the hard work and quick progress,Southeast Texas still has quite a road to treadbefore things get closer to pre-Ike normal. Our thoughts and prayers are with those still strug-gling to recover in the hardest-hit areas of Chambers, Jefferson and Orange countiesand the entire stretch of the Gulf Coast pun-ished by Ike last month.The Port of Beaumont fared well during thestorm with only minimal damage and minor power and water interruptions. Those issueswere corrected in days and the port lent itsfacilities to massive rescue, relief and recoveryefforts launched during the storm’s aftermath.Essential staff weathered the storm at theport and others returned to work very soonafter to get port operations running againquickly and efficiently. Longshoremen, manyof whom suffered extensive water damage totheir homes, came to work just four days after the storm to unload cargo from one of the firstships to arrive in Southeast Texas after Ike.Those are just two examples of the “can-do”spirit in every Southeast Texan.
The boys of The boys of  
Active hurricane seasonActive hurricane seasonkeeps port on its toes withkeeps port on its toes withEdouard, Gustav and IkeEdouard, Gustav and Ike 
Scores of tugboats and shrimp boats shelter in place as waves ahead of Hurricane Ike push flotsam and foam onto the port’sRO/RO ramp in September. Ike sideswiped Beaumont as the area’s third tropical cyclone threat of the 2008 hurricane season.
This view from the Harbor Island Marine Terminal shows Hurricane Ike at full fury on the morn-ing of Sept. 13. Sustained winds at the port topped 70 mph, with a gust to 122 mph.
Fatigued, but ready.
No phrase more aptly describesthe mood of Southeast Texas inearly September as Hurricane Ikescraped across Cuba, slid into theGulf of Mexico and became thefourth threat from a tropical cyclonesince Hurricane Rita awakened theregion’s storm consciousness in2005.Preparations began in earnest asthe mammoth storm entered theGulf of Mexico on Sept. 8 and fore-casts placed Ike somewhere alongthe Texas coast by week’s end.For the third time this hurricaneseason, maintenance employeesremoved loose objects that couldcause additional damage in hurri-cane-force winds and braced transitshed doors.As the week progressed, the portbecame a hive of activity.The U.S. Coast Guard, TexasParks and Wildlife Department andother state and federal agenciesbegan sheltering their boats in theCarroll Street transit sheds.Local authorities moved ambu-lances, police cars and other emer-gency vehicles onto the
M/V CapeVincent 
to ride out the storm.Shrimp boats, tugboats and crewboats from coastal waters acrossTexas and Louisiana began driftingup the Sabine-Neches Waterwayand tying up to any available dockspace.Mandatory evacuation orders for residents of Jefferson and Orangecounties went into effect at 6 a.m.Thursday, Sept. 11.By the time Ike’s first rain bandsstruck during the evening of Friday,Sept. 12, more than 150 vesselshad sought refuge at the port, andcountless Coast Guard, military andlocal essential personnel were hun-kered down aboard the
Cape Vin-cent 
.The brunt of Ike’s punishing blowson Southeast Texas arrived shortlybefore midnight. Hurricane-forcewinds battered the region throughdawn Sept. 13, and tropical storm-force winds and torrential rainsaffected the area through earlyafternoon.Initial assessments revealed onlyminor damage to port facilities withtypical post-storm inconveniencessuch as loss of power and water services, which affected large por-tions of the region during the initialdays and weeks of the storm’s af-termath.Maintenance employees returnedto straighten up the port on Mon-day, Sept. 15. Other employeestrickled in during the week. Con-struction resumed on the port’s newdock facility. Rail and truck serviceresumed two days later.The longshoremen—many of whom live in the hardest-hit areasof Southeast Texas—positionedthemselves to unload the
M/V BBC Delaware
, a wind energy cargo shipthat was the first to enter the Sa-bine-Neches Waterway once itreopened on Sept. 17.Within ten days of the storm,cargo operations resumed with four ships with power and water wererestored to the entire port.
Port escapes Ike’s wrath virtually unscathed; lends a hand to get region back on track
2:10 a.m. Sept. 13 on the eastern tipof Galveston Island (about 70 milessouthwest of Beaumont) as a Cate-gory 2 hurricane with winds of 110mph
Southeast Texas Regional Airport:70 mph (95 mph)
M/V Cape Vincent 
(berthed at port):70-90 mph (122 mph)
Southeast Texas Regional Airport:5.5 inchesDowntown Beaumont:10.5 inches
Sabine Pass: 14.7 ftNeches River at Beaumont: 11.2 ft
SOURCES: National Weather Service,
Beaumont Enterprise
Shrimp boats make their way up the Sabine-Neches Waterway toward the Port of Beau-mont’s docks. More than 150 vessels sought safe haven from Hurricane Ike at the port.Lights on vessels docked at the port were the only signs of electricity the morning after Ike blew through. Power was restored to the entire port in less than five days.U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary
Michael Chertoff 
(foreground, left)speaks with aides as U.S. Senator 
John Cornyn
(in green jacket) discusses his flightover devastated areas of Southeast Texas with port director 
Chris Fisher 

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