Doug Cox,M.D.

Oklahoma State


 Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the Port of Catoosa and learn about the role it plays in our state economy.  I think you will find it interesting.

   In 2008 Oklahoma’s waterborne commerce totaled over 3.8 million tons, worth over $2.02 billion.

   Each barge can transport a load that would require 15 railcars or 60 semi-trucks.  One barge can carry the weight of 136 school buses, 200 elephants, 750 pickup trucks, or 12,000 refrigerators!  On average, a towboat pushes 8 barges.  That makes transportation by water very cheap because one gallon of fuel can carry one ton of cargo 576 miles on a barge.  That compares with 413 miles on a railcar and 155 miles in a semi-truck. 

   The major products moved in and out of Oklahoma’s water ports include iron and steel, chemical fertilizer, petroleum products, coal, soybeans and wheat, lumber products and minerals, just to name a few. 

   The waterway is financially independent with towboat operators paying a 20-cent per gallon diesel fuel tax into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and another 4.3-cent tax earmarked to pay off the initial expense of building project. They have almost completed dredging the waterway to increase minimum depth from 9 ft to 12 ft.

   The dams forming lakes Keystone, Eufaula, and Oologah were built as part of the waterway project to help control the flow in the channel.

   Among the many of the folks in our area working with industries having connections to the waterway are Steve Taylor who manages Johnston’s Port 33, and Joe Harwood who operates the marina at the Port of Muskogee.

   Teachers, a field trip to the port is not that far and is very educational.  Contact Bob Portiss, Port Director, Tulsa Port of Catoosa, 918-266-2291,

   I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about our state.  Until next week, have wonderful days as we rapidly approach the Thanksgiving holiday!