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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Tulsa Port of Catoosa Reports Tonnage, Welcomes Barge

PINK BARGE HOPE: Awaiting shipment of the cargo on the Big Hope 1, known as the Pink Barge in support of the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, are Donna German, CEO, Mary Crowley Cancer Research Foundation; Paul Janoush; Penny Choate; Beverley Janoush; Mark Fletcher, managing partner, Ceres Barge Line; Vincent Schu, Ceres Barge Line; and Michael Eckart, Sherwin Williams. 

Courtesy photo

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa welcomed a unique, and colorful visitor in December.  It was “Big Hope 1,” a pink barge that traveled along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) to raise funds and awareness for the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center. After a fundraising event held at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, the barge was loaded with project cargo destined for Ohio. The barge and its message of hope was a meaningful end to another successful month for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. There were 203,326 tons of cargo shipped in and out of the Port during the month of December 2017.

Big Hope 1 was loaded Friday, Jan. 12, with what is referred to as a “bubble tower.”  This is a 160-ton, 175-foot-long piece of equipment used in the oil and gas industry to process crude oil. It was built by Cust-O-Fab in Sand Springs, taking six months to build and providing jobs for six to 20 people at any given time. Cust-O-Fab creates and manufactures custom fabrication projects.

The pink barge carried the bubble tower up the Mississippi River to the Illinois River, then across the Great Lakes to the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor, where it was offloaded to a truck bound for a refinery in Lima, Ohio. This is a notable example of how inland river transportation supports the economy not only in Oklahoma but also the region and the country.    

Though the cargo offloads in Ohio, the barge will continue to carry on its mission throughout the 25,000 miles of inland river system used for transportation in the U.S.  Big Hope 1 is the only pink barge on the inland waterway system, a vision shared by Ceres Barge Line and the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center. Mark Fletcher, managing partner of Ceres Barge Line, attended the Big Hope 1 press conference on Jan. 12 to tell the story of the big pink barge.

“This barge was inspired by an employee who had been dramatically affected by cancer,” said Fletcher. “Since its launch in 2012, Big Hope 1 has raised over $800,000 to date.”

It will continue traveling from port to port and stand out among other cargo loads, raising money and awareness. This barge truly brings hope to many families across the nation that have been affected by cancer,” said Fletcher.   

“As Big Hope 1 tours the Midwestern U.S., it’s really everyone’s story,” said Donna German, CEO of the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center. “It’s about serving our fellow man.”

Founded in 1997, the Mary Crowley Research Center focuses on advancing gene-targeted and immune therapies through clinical trials, which are less toxic than radiation or chemotherapy. It has conducted over 570 clinical trials and served approximately 6,000 patients from 48 states.

Supporting this organization and cause is especially important for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, other public and private ports and the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River family because cancer has taken the lives of some of the dearest friends in the river business. 

“We know that many families are directly affected by cancer every day.  So, for Big Hope 1 to come into our port to spread a message of hope and raise awareness was truly the best way for us to start 2018,” said Chip McElroy, Port Authority Board chairman. 

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa shipped 2,553,990 tons in 2017 and looks forward to another successful year in 2018.

Updated 01-26-2018

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