High waters on the McClellan-Kerr Navigation system this year and the bankruptcy of SemGroup have caused barge tonnage at the Port of Muskogee to reach its lowest point in 15 years, Port Director Scott Robinson said.

For October, the port had 28 barges of imported products, Robinson said in a report to the Port Authority on Tuesday. Half of the incoming barges carried steel. The others carried clay, coke, fertilizer, molasses and nepheline syenite, an industrial material used in the manufacture of glass and other products.

Five barges exported coke and fly ash in October, Robinson’s report shows.

Total tonnage for the month was 50,185, down from 69,640 a year ago.

That brought the tonnage for the year to date to 597,000, compared to nearly 676,000 tons last year, Robinson said.

SemGroup, had an asphalt distribution warehouse at the port and is still paying the lease on the facility, but it is empty or nearly empty, he said.

“We have no idea of what’s going to happen to that facility,” Robinson said.

It is just one of many the company has across the nation, he said.

While barge tonnage is down for the year, rail tonnage at the port has increased, with 297 cars bringing in 27,018 tons for the month and exporting 39 cars with 3,413 tons, Robinson reported.

Total rail tonnage for the year to date is 302,000, up from 263,000 a year ago, he said.

At a glance

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Muskogee City-County Port Authority approved:

• Receiving audit report from Kathy Hewitt. Audit showed port had $372,202 net income over expenses for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008. There were no adverse findings in the report, Hewitt said.

• Approved declaring a 2002 Massey Ferguson 240 diesel tractor surplus and authorized the port director to dispose of it by taking bids.

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