Tulsa Ports officially kicked off 50th anniversary celebrations for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa in January. Commemorative events will be held each month leading up to a formal ceremony in June. The $1.2 billion navigation system was dedicated by President Richard Nixon on June 5, 1971. Since its opening, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa has shipped over 87 million tons and currently contributes $300 million in economic impact in Oklahoma.
During the 50-year celebration event a ceremony was held with 50 items that went into a time capsule (both historical items and Port of Catoosa memorabilia), and remarks were held from new Port Authority Board Chair, Dewey Bartlett.
The waterway was named for U.S. Sen. John L. McClellan of Arkansas and U.S. Sen. Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma. Both had worked to realize the dream of a navigable waterway. As a former Oklahoma governor and as chair of the U.S. Senate Rivers and Harbors Subcommittee of the Public Works Committee, Kerr had used his political power to secure the project’s funding.
The first barge entered the Tulsa Port of Catoosa carrying 650 tons of newsprint on January 21, 1971.
“The City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority has a proven history and reputation of providing strong, progressive, and business-friendly leadership to this organization now known as Tulsa Ports. It is an exciting time to be a part of Tulsa Ports and we are looking forward to the challenges ahead with the leadership from the board and our new slate of officers,” said David Yarbrough, port director. “We will continue to anticipate and meet the needs of manufacturing and transportation-based industries. We also want to recognize and thank Steve Dowty who has served as our chair these past two years, leading us through several challenges as well as the evolution of our new brand.”
Tulsa Ports is one of the largest multimodal shipping complexes and industrial parks in the central U.S., with locations in both Catoosa and Inola. The combined locations total approximately 5,000 acres and result in an annual economic impact of over $300 million to the State of Oklahoma.
The Catoosa location is one of the largest, most inland river-port/industrial parks in the United States, hosting 70 companies on-site that manufacture and ship diverse products, including steel, fertilizer, industrial gas, wheat and consumer goods. In 2019, Tulsa Ports added a second location in Inola that features a 2,000-acre rail-served industrial property with land available in contiguous sections up to 1,500 acres. Tulsa Ports is managed and operated by the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority and provides development services through Tulsa’s Port of Catoosa Facilities Authority that include build/leaseback arrangements.
The GTR Media Group will follow Tulsa Port of Catoosa events throughout the year.