Grant sought for third dock

EAST LIVERPOOL — The Columbiana County Port Authority is looking to add a third dock to its riverfront terminal in Wellsville.

Port Authority Executive Director Penny Traina reported at Monday’s meeting they are joining with the Port of Pittsburgh Commission in seeking an INFRA grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund 60 percent of the $1.93 million project.

“Due to the increased activity in the oil and gas industry, the Columbiana County Port Authority’s intermodal facility in Wellsville is already operating at full capacity. As the economy continues to grow in shifts we want to be ready to meet customers’ needs, whether they be in energy, automobile or agriculture industries,” she said.

The terminal is served by two existing docks and cranes, including an overhead 60-ton capacity bridge crane system/conveyor system for moving bulk materials from barge to rail car and truck, and vice versa. The new dock would allow for the transfer of large equipment and other heavy and oversized shipments using the existing bridge crane.

The plan is to sink two “jumbo” barges in the Ohio River just north of the bridge crane and place a 50-foot by 195-foot concrete dock on top. The project includes construction of a flood wall.

“This will create a deep water port capable of off-loading really heavy equipment,” Traina said.

The port authority will be responsible for 40 percent of the cost, or $775,000, and Traina intends to pay for as much as possible through state and local grants as well as contributions from businesses that would benefit from the expansion.

The port authority was eligible to apply for the grant on its own but the Port of Pittsburgh approached Traina about being part of an application it was putting together on behalf of 12 other applicants seeking funding for public economic development projects in the region.

“We could have very well done our own grant, but they called us and asked if we had” a project that could be included in its application, she said. “I think it’s a better application with the Port of Pittsburgh being the applicant.”

Traina approached the Port of Pittsburgh last year about working together on projects of mutual interest, and she believes that is why they thought of them when crafting a regional grant application.

“Reaching out to our regional partners is what it’s going to take for all of us to be successful,” she said.

The grant, if funded, would be awarded sometime in 2018.

The Wellsville terminal is operated under a lease with Pier 48 Stevedoring, with the port authority receiving a percentage of the profits.