New dock, rail construction continues at Port Bienville

Published 8:58 am Monday, July 11, 2022

KILN, MISS. – Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission (HCPHC) continues construction of a new maritime dock and railroad facility at Port Bienville Industrial Park.

The $8.8 million project includes a 600-foot bulkhead with a 40-foot apron which can accommodate three barges for loading and unloading. A 250-foot crushed stone laydown yard will extend from the apron for operations and storage.

The project also includes two Port Bienville Shortline Railroad track extensions to serve the dock with rail-to-barge intermodal operations. Access roads will also be improved for truck and other vehicle traffic.

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Known as the RESTORE Dock, the project was funded by a $7.4 million RESTORE Act grant in 2017. An additional $510,000 in funding came from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s GOMESA program. HCPHC contributed the remaining $870,000.

“Port and Harbor Commission is committed to growing economic opportunities,” CEO Bill Cotter. “Thanks to the support of federal, state and local partners, this infrastructure investment will support business operations and continued growth of our maritime business.”

The construction project was awarded to Gill’s Crane and Dozer Service, Inc., of Slidell, for $7.4 million. Notice to proceed work was issued in May 2021, and the project is expected to be completed this fall.

The RESTORE Dock is part of a 35-acre parcel on the industrial canal at Port Bienville. With maritime, rail and road access, the intermodal facility could support transload operations, bulk material handling, liquid transfer and warehousing for import/export businesses.

Each year, about 480,000 tons of material move across Port Bienville’s public and private docks. When it is completed, RESTORE Dock will be the fifth public dock in HCPHC’s portfolio. Two additional docks are owned by industrial tenants at the port.

“The Port and Harbor Commission continues to invest for the future of Hancock County,” said CEO Bill Cotter. “Our industrial assets provide the logistical solutions that allow existing tenants to expand and attract new businesses to the area.”

With its 12-foot-deep industrial canal, Port Bienville provides access to the Intracoastal Waterway via the Pearl River. Connecting Port Bienville to CSX, Port Bienville Railroad boasts 17 miles of track and processes over 8,000 loaded railcars a year. The industrial park is home to 16 companies employing nearly 700 people.