Port Hits Stride After Years of Work

by John Henry  on Monday, Aug. 20, 2007 12:00 am  

Location, Location, Location

Latture also likes to brag about the location.

"There are simply not many places," he said, "that offer quick access to an interstate highway, is only a mile from an airport, is on the water and has its own switching railroad that connects with two Class 1 railroads."

In addition to being near Interstate 440 and Little Rock National Airport, the port has two terminals, one on the main channel of the river and one at the slackwater harbor, and rail connections to Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co.

Already the largest port operation in Arkansas, the Little Rock Port will see a major expansion as Welspun and LM Glasfiber add about 1,400 to 1,500 employees to an industrial park area that is home to about 3,000 workers.

In a quick analysis earlier this year, Latture said the capital investment in the land, infrastructure and industry at the port's industrial park area exceeds $500 million.

In addition to the two larger announcements, Boyd Metals of Fort Smith, a full-line metals service center, announced this month that it has bought a 10-acre site at the Little Rock Port where it will...build a 45,000-SF metals distribution facility....

Boyd Metals opened a service center in Little Rock last year at 600 Bond Ave.

"We are pleased with the reception we have received over the last year in the central Arkansas marketplace and excited to show our long-term commitment back to the market with this land purchase," said Mike Rowland, vice president and general manager of the Little Rock operation....

Boyd Metals President Tom Kennon said design and engineering work would begin soon. Boyd Metals was formed in 1991 and, in addition to its Little Rock facility, has operations in Fort Smith, Joplin, Mo., and Oklahoma City.

On the Arkansas River, the Little Rock Port is exceeded only by the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, which focuses on agricultural products and liquids that the Little Rock Port doesn't. Otherwise, Latture said, the two ports would be very close in the amount of tonnage each handles.

The industrial park takes up about 1,600 acres. Much of it is filled. Only 100 acres of unrestricted property are left.



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