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Vicksburg port options: Move to new site or expand in place

April 11, 2021 GMT

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Engineers in Mississippi are evaluating a potential new site for the Port of Vicksburg, a few miles south of the current location.

Elected officials from Vicksburg and Warren County met Wednesday to discuss whether to expand near the current port or build a new one, the Vicksburg Post reported. They said expanding would cost an estimated $47.6 million, while starting fresh at a new site would cost about $102 million.

Officials announced that Neel-Schaffer Engineering will conduct an environmental assessment on the potential new site, which is south of two bridges that span the Mississippi River.

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Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, a native of Vicksburg, led the meeting and said the assessment is the “next step” in a conservative approach to see if building a new port is viable.

“When the assessment is completed, then you will be at a point where you could start construction,” Hosemann said.

The state Legislature set aside $1 million in 2018 for the environmental assessment, a port market analysis and other expenses. During the session that recently ended, legislators budgeted another $325,000 for the port project.

In 2019, the city and the Warren County Port Commission commissioned an analysis that identified the top market opportunities with a larger port. Areas identified included scrap iron imports from Mexico, containerized soybean exports, wood chip exports in containers, resin exports, building a steel mill and imports of spruce logs.

The analysis estimated the possible creation of 600 direct jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional investment.

“We’re thankful that Lt. Gov. Hosemann and Vicksburg’s entire legislative delegation supported the funding needed to finalize an environmental analysis for the port expansion project,” said Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. “This is a once-in-a-generation project that could have immense positive impacts for our community for the next three or four decades.”