The Mississippi Export Railroad will use its $740,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture loan to add a 40,000-square-foot bulk storage warehouse to its Moss Point facility.
Mississippi Export Railroad "applied for the loan in a very different economic time than today," but is forging ahead with a multimillion-dollar project in the Helena Industrial Park, President Greg Luce told the Press Register.
Under a rural economic development program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities, in this case Singing River Electric Association, which in turn pass the loans to local businesses for projects that will create jobs.
"The whole idea originated around the fact that we were then and are now storing a number of products in rail cars," Luce said. "Those products have to be repackaged into smaller super sacks and go out to local ports."
Historically, most of the products have been repackaged at the Port of Houston. But with the addition of the warehouse, "we thought we could get someone in here to perform that operation locally," Luce said. The warehouse will be served by both rail and truck.
The new space could also benefit the Port of Pascagoula, according to its director, Mark McAndrews. "We are exploring what sorts of opportunities might be available when we have cargoes that request indoor storage for longer than a month," McAndrews said. "Our buildings are classified as transit sheds, and we sort of need to clear them out at 30 days."
The facility could help the port "possibly attract cargoes that would require longer storage or distribution," McAndrews said, noting he is not aware of any other facility in Jackson County that repackages products.
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