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Port of Vinton Completes Dredging on Vinton Navigation Channel

VINTON, La., October 23, 2018 — Port of Vinton officials announced this week that dredging operations near the mouth of the Vinton Navigation Channel has been completed.

Magnolia Dredging of Mandeville, La., was the contractor on the $1.098 million maintenance dredging project that removed more than 21,400 cubic yards of spoils over a 24-week period. The southernmost portion of the channel where it enters into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was returned to an elevation of minus-10.5 feet, and the spoils were relocated onto nearby private open-water areas to create new marshlands in an environmentally beneficial use manner.

“It has been more than seven years since any maintenance dredge work has been performed on the channel, and in that time, a naturally occurring ‘humping’ of sediment near the mouth of the channel has gradually represented a growing navigation issue on the waterway for shallow water maritime vessels and barges,” said Jerry Merchant, president of the Port of Vinton board of commissioners.

“During the deepening of approximately 2,000 linear feet of the channel, the port also took the opportunity to modify the two corners of land bordering the channel where it enters into the GIWW,” he added.  “This is especially important for tugboat operators to make their navigation into the channel from the GIWW an easier task.”

The initial phase of the project focused on preparing the land area that was selected to receive the dredge spoils,” Merchant explained. “We are especially appreciative for the cooperation of the Stream Land Company for partnering with the port in making their property available to receive the dredge spoils.”

Merchant said that the Port of Vinton and its tenants offer a variety of specialized services that accommodate the expansion of our Southwest Louisiana regional economic development.

“High on that list is the 11-year presence of Dunham/Price on 75 acres of port property adjacent to the channel where it has the nation’s largest manufacturing site for steel-reinforced 40-foot concrete pilings as well as other pre-cast concrete materials,” he explained. “We are also home to a division of Performance Blasting & Coating that offers industrial painting and sandblasting services.”

Merchant was very complimentary of the port’s board of commissioners that led the way in applying for Calcasieu Parish funding support through a cooperative endeavor agreement with Gravity Drainage District No. 2.

“Our expansion project would not have been possible without a parish $200,000 Economic Development Riverboat Gaming Fund grant and a parish $500,000 Road and Drainage Trust Fund grant awarded specifically through the drainage district for the dredging project,” he said. “Virtually all of the runoff in the area’s water shed is directed toward the channel as it ends up draining into the GIWW.”

Located just minutes off Interstate 10 south of Vinton, the Port of Vinton has approximately 600 acres of industrial-zoned property for lease.

Vinton Port Awards Dredging Contract

WEST CALCASIEU
Vinton Port Awards Dredging Contract
John Guidroz
A Mandeville-based company will dredge the mouth of the Vinton Navigation Channel to a depth of 10.5 feet, opening the door for recruiting new tenants at the Port of Vinton, port officials said.
Earlier this month, the port’s board awarded the work contract to Magnolia Dredge and Dock LLC. The $832,672 bid was the lowest of three received.
Lynn Hohensee, port director, said there is a demand for facilities that support barge transportation in Southwest Louisiana.
The mouth of the channel will be dredged north from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway by 1,945 linear feet, Hohensee said. The shallowest existing depth at the channel is 6.5 feet.
Lee Lancon, an engineer with the West Calcasieu Port, said more than 20,000 cubic yards of spoils will be dredged. Private landowners will use the spoils to enhance marshland conditions, he said.
The work also calls for widening the approach from the GIWW into the channel and back into the waterway.
The project will be funded by $500,000 from the Gravity Drainage District 2 of Ward 7, along with a $200,000 economic development grant provided by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.

Port Of Vinton Awards Construction Contract For Dredging At Mouth Of Vinton Navigation Channel

VINTON, La, Feb. 14, 2018 – The Port of Vinton Board of Commissioners voted this week to award the contract for the dredging of the mouth of the Vinton Navigation Channel to Magnolia Dredge & Dock, LLC of Mandeville, La. 

The successful base bid of $832,672 was the lowest among three bids received by the port during its competitive public bid process.

“The Port of Vinton Board of Commissioners was impressed with the quality of the contractors that were interested in the port’s project,” said Jerry Merchant, board president for the Port of Vinton. “The port’s engineering team spent a considerable amount of time reviewing all of the data and information included in the packets prior to making its recommendation to the board.”

Lynn Hohensee, POV director, noted that the Port of Vinton Port will work closely with local, state and federal officials to make sure that all dredging operations are in line with regulatory permits for the project and that an aggressive time schedule is followed for the dredging work.

“The improvements to the channel will benefit current tenant operations and enhance the port’s ability to recruit new tenants,” he said. “Demand for shallow-water access to facilities that support barge transportation in Southwest Louisiana has grown over the last several years, and all regional economic indicators point to a continuing growth in that demand.

“For that reason,” our port board of commissioners led the way in securing the necessary funding support for the dredging,” he continued.  “When completed, the dredging project will deepen the channel from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway northward approximately 1,945 linear feet.”

Hohensee noted also that the waterway improvements will also include widening the approach vessels will use as they navigate off the GIWW into the Vinton channel and back out into the GIWW.

WCP Engineer Lee Lancon with Westlake-based Lancon Engineering, Inc. has estimated that more than 20,000 cubic yards of spoil will be dredged to accommodate dredging of the mouth of the navigation channel.  The dredging project will deepen the mouth of the channel from an existing depth as shallow as 6.5 feet to a depth of 10.5 feet. 

The dredged spoils will be used for environmental beneficial use.

“The spoils will be piped to the nearby privately owned property where landowners will use the spoils material to enhance marshland conditions,” Hohensee said.

Significant funding support comes from a $200,000 economic development grant awarded to the port by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.  Funding support ($500,000) also was received from the Gravity Drainage District No. 2 in Ward 7 (western Calcasieu Parish), since the channel plays an integral role in moving runoff water out of a wide watershed in the western portion of the parish.  

The Vinton Harbor & Terminal District (Port of Vinton) was created in 1956 when the Louisiana Legislature passed the Navigation and Shipping Act 466 for the purpose of stimulating economic growth in western Calcasieu Parish. Since then, the port has expanded and today encompasses more than 800 acres of land geared to support private investment and development along the northern reach of the Vinton Navigation Channel.

Port of Vinton Opens Bids for Canal Dredging

Vinton Harbor & Terminal District of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, does hereby advertise for sealed bids and will open same on:

  1. Tuesday, February 6, 2018.
  2. At the Office of the Lancon Engineers, Inc., 905 McKinley Street, Westlake, Louisiana 70669-5005 at the hour of 2:00 p.m. Central Time Zone.
  3. For the Vinton Navigation Canal Maintenance Dredging (FY 2018); Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; LEI Project No. 14-012.
  4. Bidding documents, including drawings and technical specifications, are on file at the office of Lancon Engineers, Inc., 905 McKinley Street, Westlake, Louisiana 70669, or by calling 337/439-6333. Complete documents may be obtained from the Project Engineer upon deposit of $95.00 for each set of documents. Deposit is fully refundable for the first set of documents to all bona fide prime* bidders upon return of the documents in good condition no later than ten (10) days after receipt of bids. The deposit of all other set of documents will be refunded fifty percent (50%) upon return of documents as stated above.
    *Prime bidders are defined as licensed Highway, Street and Bridge Construction; and/or Heavy
    Construction; and/or Specialty: Dredging Contractors bidding this job as such.
  5. All bids must be accompanied by bid security equal to five percent (5%) of the sum of the base bid and all alternates, and must be in the form of a certified check or cashier’s check drawn on a bank insured by the FDIC, or a Vinton Harbor & Terminal District Bid Bond Form contained in bidding documents, shall be written by a surety or insurance company currently on the U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Management Service list of approved bonding companies which is published annually in the Federal Register, or by a Louisiana domiciled insurance company with at least an Arating in the latest printing of the A.M. Best’s Key Rating Guide to write individual bonds up to ten percent of policyholders’ surplus as shown in the A.M. Best’s Key Rating Guide or by an insurance company in good standing licensed to write bid bonds which is either domiciled in Louisiana or owned by Louisiana residents, all in accordance with LSAR.S. 38:2218. No Bid Bond indicating an obligation of less than five percent (5%) by any method is acceptable.
  6. The successful bidder shall be required to furnish a Performance and Payment Bond in an amount equal to 100% of the Contract amount, shall be written by a surety or insurance company currently on the U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Management Service list of approved bonding companies which is published annually in the Federal Register, or by a Louisiana domiciled insurance company with at least an A- rating in the latest printing of the A.M. Best’s Key Rating
    Guide to write individual bonds up to ten percent of policyholders’ surplus as shown in the A.M. Best’s Key Rating Guide or by an insurance company in good standing licensed to write bid bondswhich is either domiciled in Louisiana or owned by Louisiana residents, all in accordance with LSAR.S. 38:2219.
  7. Bids shall be accepted only from contractors who are licensed under LSAR.S. 37:2150-2163 for the classification of “Highway, Street and Bridge Construction; and/or Heavy Construction; and/or Specialty: Dredging Contractors.” No bid may be withdrawn for a period of forty-five (45) days after receipt of bids, except under the provisions of LSAR.S. 38:2214.
  8. The Owner reserves the right to reject any and all bids for just cause as permitted by LA R.S. 38:2214B. The ability of an Entity to reject any bid is applicable only when administered in accordance with the Public Bid Law. In accordance with LSAR.S. 38:2212B (1), the provisions and requirements of this Section, and those stated in the bidding documents shall not be waived by any entity.
  9. The public shall incur no obligation to the Contractor until the Contract between Vinton Harbor & Terminal District and the Contractor is fully executed.
  10. A Non-Mandatory Pre-Bid Conference will be held on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, and 2:00 p.m. at the office of Lancon Engineers, Inc., 905 McKinley Street, Westlake, Louisiana 70669-5005.
  11. Official action on this bid will be taken within forty-five (45) days by Vinton Harbor & Terminal District, except as may be extended by mutual written consent with the lowest responsible bidder.
  12. Minority owned firms and small businesses are encouraged to participate.
  13. All bids must be plainly marked and should contain the following on the outside of the envelope: BID FOR “Vinton Navigation Canal Maintenance Dredging (FY 2018); Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; LEI Project No. 14-012”.

 

Jerry Merchant, President
Vinton Harbor & Terminal District

Port Director Lynn Hohensee: Multi-Task Master

Port of Vinton Announces New Tenant

VINTON, La., (May 15, 2016) – The Port of Vinton Board of Commissioners voted (4-1) at last Tuesday’s monthly port board meeting to accept a contract with Mossville Lodge, LLC, that will create a $60 million 2,200-bed worker village to be constructed on 42 acres at the port.

“Not only will this project help alleviate a critical housing shortage for temporary construction workers over the next several years, but it also will provide a strong revenue stream needed to meet infrastructure development at the port and a boost in local jobs for Vinton-area residents,”  said Jerry Merchant, Port of Vinton board president.

Merchant noted during the board meeting that Mossville Lodge has one year to line up client contracts with construction contractors and sub-contractors under the company’s arrangement with the port 

“The Port of Vinton’s newest tenant comes onboard at critical time for the economic expansion of our parish and region,” he continued.  “More than 19,000 temporary construction workers will need housing within the next year or two, and this project – if developed — will greatly help in alleviating the housing shortage.”

The port’s lease agreement with Mossville Lodge requires the tenant to construct utility facilities to meet its own water and wastewater treatment needs. 

“These infrastructure improvements as well as other permanent site facilities will become the property of the port once the tenant lease expires, which will occur when demand for temporary construction workers in Southwest Louisiana and/or Southeast Texas no longer exists,” Merchant explained.  “The modular residential units where the workers will actually be housed will be able to be relocated after the need for the workers is past.”

Merchant said he expects construction work on-site to begin as soon as front-end engineering and permitting steps are completed and Mossville Lodge signs client agreements.

The Vinton Harbor & Terminal District (Port of Vinton) was created in 1956 when the Louisiana Legislature passed the Navigation and Shipping Act 466 for the purpose of stimulating economic growth in Western Calcasieu Parish. Since then, the port has expanded and today encompasses more than 800 acres of land geared to support private investment and development along the northern reach of the Vinton Navigation Channel.

Download the press release here.

Hohensee: Vinton Port an Economic Engine within Community

Hohensee said that a lot of businesses need a public entity like the port that can immediately provide them with utilities. “It is a great demonstration of public/private partnerships,” he said.

VINTON — Vinton Port Director Lynn Hohensee told the Daily News in a recent interview that, like each port in the Ports Association of Louisiana, the Vinton Port is an economic engine within the community. “Our purpose is to take the resources we have, attract private industry tenants that will bring in tax revenue increases, create jobs and will provide infrastructure improvement,” he said.

Hohensee said that a lot of businesses need a public entity like the port that can immediately provide them with utilities. “It is a great demonstration of public/private partnerships,” he said.
There are 34 ports throughout Louisiana, which is key in a state with navigable waterways that extend to all corners. Those ports can be divided into three categories: deep draft, which account for 54 percent of the economic activity associated with ports; coastal ports, which account for about 38.5 percent; and inland ports, which account for about 7.5 percent.
Last month, Dr. James Richardson, Alumni Professor or Economics and Public Administration at Louisiana State University, prepared an update of the 2012 study of the economic impact of Louisiana ports.

Findings indicate that direct spending by ports and providers of services account for 77,000 jobs – or four percent – in the state. Industries which rely on ports for transportation, like oil and gas, petroleum and refineries, petrochemicals, agricultural, food manufacturing, wood and paper and metals, account for one out of every five jobs in the state. Annually, ports account for a combined personal income of $4.1 billion and a total of $534 million in local and state taxes.

“The common thread is that each of these ports provides services that expand the opportunities available to basic industries in a region, which are fundamental to the Louisiana economy,” said Richardson.

Progress at the Port of Vinton Continues Despite Defeat at the Polls

Board President Jerry Merchant told the Daily News recently that the loss at the polls won’t stop progress at the port. “It’s going to slow us down, but it’s not stopping us,” he said.

By Heather Regan-White

Southwest Daily News – Sulphur, LA

Posted Apr 24, 2016 at 8:57 AM

VINTON — Although Ward 7 voters opposed the Vinton Port’s first funding request since 1970 in the April 9 election, port officials are optimistic about the future of the 880-acre shallow water port located off Johnny Breaux Road.

Board President Jerry Merchant told the Daily News recently that the loss at the polls won’t stop progress at the port. “It’s going to slow us down, but it’s not stopping us,” he said.

The 10-year, 7-mill tax on the recent ballot, along with the 2.32 mills currently being collected, would have brought in $364,000 annually. That funding would have been used to cover the $3.9 million needed to dredge the length of the Vinton Drain Ditch, the primary waterway from the port to the mouth of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway or canal.

Merchant said that had the tax passed the port hoped to combine the dredging of the drain ditch with another project that would involve dredging the canal past the public boat launch to clear it to a 12-foot depth.

Why is dredging such a focus for the port? Port Director Lynn Hohensee said that the Vinton channel “humps up at the mouth of the Intracoastal, which is about seven miles south of the port.”

“It’s a barrier to good movement of shallow-water barge traffic off the Intracoastal up into the channel to our port and back out” said Hohensee. “Once we get that dredged, it will give us great opportunities for growth for the port.”

The port’s current tenants — Dunham Price, located on tracts 3, 4 and 5, and Performance Blasting and Coating, on tract 1 — join those in support of dredging. “That opens them up to Texas and all across Louisiana,” said Merchant. “They could bring barges in from anywhere.”

He said that though the port can use the ditch as it is, it is limited as to the draft on barges.

However, the port will move forward. Merchant said that within six months to a year, the port will begin dredging 2,000 feet of the ditch. The project awaits permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers’ Galveston office. The dredging will be funded by projects currently planned for the port. Those projects are currently in negotiation and include a worker village and a dirt excavation outfit.

If all goes according to plan, the worker village will be located on 50 to 60 acres northwest of Dunham Price, in the Camp Louise Road area. It will, at maximum capacity, house 2,380 workers. Merchant said the village, estimated to cost nearly $60 million to construct, will bring revenue to the port in the form of leasing and daily per person fees. And, when the work is through, they will leave millions of dollars in infrastructure including two water wells and a sewer treatment facility with almost the same capacity as Vinton’s system.

Merchant said the company also plans to hire 125 local residents to run the village. He said workers are expected to be on site for five to seven years but that may change as there are also industrial projects in the Texas Golden Triangle area that could make use of them.

Merchant said there was some misinformation passed around before the April 9 millage vote that indicated the tax would have been used to construct the village. Given the multi-million price tag for the village and the fact that the tax would have brought in a total of $3.6 million, the rumor was unfounded.

Another project on the horizon is a massive barrow pit, of which the entire perimeter will be bulkheaded to shore up the property. Merchant said the mutually beneficial project would provide needed dirt to the client, for a price, and allow for the port to use the hole in the ground, which would be large enough that, when filled with water, could function as a turning basin and storage for barges — something the port badly needs.

It would also provide more clients access to the water. It will also enhance recreation in the area by keeping barges out of the canal so fishermen don’t have to navigate around them. The parish operates a boat launch from tract 2.

“It’s an incredibly ingenious program,” said Hohensee. Currently, no large barges can travel north of Dunham Price property because there is nowhere to turn around.

The port has about three times more land to offer potential tenants than most small shallow-water ports. There are currently six tracts of land, with a total of nearly 700 unleased acres of land. Four of those tracts, 9-12, were purchased three years ago with bond money secured by the board.

The port keeps tracts 10 and 11 maintained through an agreement with a local farmer which allows him to run his cattle through the property, keeping the grass trimmed. Tract 12, previously used as a rice field and then a crawfish pond, will have road frontage on two sides after the parish builds an extension. The port is currently working on drainage on the 105 acres on tract 6. Merchant said he would like to see some sort of dry manufacturing outfit there. “I’d love to see them come in, hire 100-plus people, move in their families and help the tax base,” he said.

And while each tract has much to offer as is, expanded accessibility to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway would be a serious boon. Hohensee said the port is a great opportunity for potential clients who might not need a port but could serve industry that does. The abundance of available land allows for a dual function – that of a port and/or an industrial park. “There’s flexibility in how we promote this port to tenants,” he said. “It’s been a sleeping gold mine for a long time.”

Vinton’s port is located between Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles. Though those may seem distant by land, the distance by water is negligible. Hohensee said that because the Port of Lake Charles is the flagship port in the region, they are able to draw large companies who start billion-dollar projects. He said each of those projects has secondary and tertiary businesses that support the project build or the ongoing operations, and those businesses need places to lease.

Potential tenants will soon find access to the port by land much easier. The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is set to embark on a project to extend Johnny Breaux Road north to Highway 108. “That will be a tremendous asset to us,” said Merchant. “People can get on 108 from Exit 8 and come straight south to the port.”

Hohensee said it will definitely make things easier for Dunham Price truckers transporting 40-ft. concrete pilings. They will no longer have to navigate the twists and turns of the current route between the port and 108. “It’s going to be a strong incentive to other businesses who want to look at the port,” said Hohensee. “They’ve got a straight one-mile shot into our port.”

The project will include a utility corridor alongside the extension that could provide water and sewer service in the future. Currently, there are no fire hydrants nor is there a water district in the area of the port or north of 108. With the parish road project, hydrants will be installed at intervals along the road. All wooden utility polls will be replaced with steel and landscaping will be installed. Not only will the project attract new residents, it will provide revenue for the Town of Vinton.

Water rates will be three times higher than what in-town residents pay. The parish is in the process of acquiring rights of way. A subdivision located to the east of the new road will benefit from accessibility to the new road. Hohensee said that Entergy officials have expressed their interest in helping spur development in the area and that their substation located within the subdivision can be expanded to bring additional power to that area.

“For the last three years, since the purchase of [tracts 9-12], there are more places in Louisiana that know about our port than ever before,” said Hohensee. “Vinton can look at itself and say it is a port city.”

He continued, stating, “The port has the potential to become a tremendous asset to the community and put Vinton on the map.”

Merchant Elected Port of Vinton Board President

Man6VINTON, La., (July 17, 2015) – Life-long Vinton native Jerry Merchant was elected president of the Port of Vinton board of commissioners during the port board’s monthly meeting this week.

The term is for one year. He succeeds Charles Broussard, who served in the position for 18 months. Broussard will remain on the board.

Merchant currently serves as the director of the Town of Vinton Civil Defense Office and the Chief of the Vinton Fire Department.

A graduate of Vinton High School in 1965, he attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles. After owning and operating Vinton Electric Service until 1981, he was employed as an electrician by PPG Industries in Sulphur, La., and retired from the company in 2009 as emergency response supervisor.

He has been a member of the Vinton Fire Department since 1967 and has served as its chief since 1990. He also is a member of the Calcasieu Parish LEPC and has served as a member of the Calcasieu 911 program for 20 years. He has been a certified EMT for 34 years, and was the director of the Vinton Ambulance Service for 11 years. Merchant also has served two terms as a city alderman from 1973-1981.

Download the press release here

Port of Vinton Names Hohensee Port Director

Man5

VINTON, La, Dec. , 2014 – The Port of Vinton recently announced that the facility’s board of directors has contracted with Lynn E. Hohensee to serve as the facility’s new port director, effective Jan 1, 2015.

“The Port of Vinton has been a viable part of the parish’s maritime community infrastructure for many years,” said Charles Broussard, president of the Port of Vinton board of directors. “We are now on the threshold of tremendous growth opportunity, and the creation of the port director position is a critical step in our expansion plan.

“We know that Lynn’s experience in marine port management, economic development, marketing communications and community relations will prove critical to our strategic growth as a progressive shallow-water port facility,” he added.

Hohensee, a 15-year resident of Calcasieu Parish, owns and operates LEH Communications, LLC, a communications consulting company specializing in marketing communications and public relations support for private business, government entities and non-profit organizations. He also continues to serve as port director for the West Calcasieu Port, a position he has held since June 2006.

“I’m very excited to join the Port of Vinton as its port director,” Hohensee said. “Southwest Louisiana is well on its way to unprecedented economic growth and development, and the Port of Vinton is well positioned in the emerging maritime industry of the parish to grow with the region.

“The port already benefits from the sound leadership of a solid board of directors,” he added. “Now, the port must gear itself to better serve its existing tenants of today – and the new clients of tomorrow.”

Strategically positioned just off the busiest stretch of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway midway between Houston and New Orleans, the 780-acre Port of Vinton is located only 1.5 miles south of Interstate 10 and offers great locations for business, commercial and industrial development.

Current tenant activity includes concrete product construction and pipe fabrication.

Hohensee served as executive director of The Chamber Foundation/Southwest Louisiana in Lake Charles prior to opening his business in August 2005. He joined The Chamber/Southwest Louisiana in June 2003 as the Director of Economic Development & Investor Relations for the Chamber/Southwest Louisiana.

Prior to joining the local chamber, he worked for ConocoPhillips (formerly Conoco) for 22 years and Shell Oil Company for eight years.   His final position with ConocoPhillips was regional director of public relations for the company’s Gulf Coast Business Unit headquartered in Lake Charles, from March 1999 to February 2003.

Hohensee is a 1971 graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism/geography (double major). In 1999, he retired as a lieutenant colonel after 28 years in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve.

Locally in Southwest Louisiana, Hohensee serves on the board of the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce, and he is a member of the Propeller Club of Lake Charles, the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and the SWLA Port Network. He also serves on the board of directors of the Port Association of Louisiana and the Boys Village Foundation. He is a 2000 graduate of Leadership-Chamber/SWLA and serves as president of the Community Advisory Council at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. He is on the advisory board for the Department of Mass Communications at McNeese State University and is a member of the Lake Charles Ad & Press Club.

Download the press release here