By Mike Phillips
What was expected to be a conclusive port commissioners meeting last evening was far less than conclusive. Decisions were not reached on cruise ships, cement powder or fertilizer shipments. Those are the three hot buttons getting a lot of people upset about the port’s new master plan-in-the-making.
However, a few interesting bits of information emerged:
- The port operator thinks fertilizer shipments are far in the future. “Some of you might not be here when that happens,” got a laugh from a not-especially young crowd.
- But if and when fertilizer is shipped through this port, it will be urea-based, not ammonium nitrate-based. Urea can’t be considered man’s best friend, but it keeps a lot of farms in business. Ammonium nitrate fertilizers are the ones that blow up warehouses, but nobody is planning to ship them through here (so far).
- If and when the port gets its act fully together in handling powdered cement bag shipments, those will come from a shipper who has been asked to blow off the 400-pound bags before loading. And then they’ll be removed from the delivering ship pneumatically into silos. Possibly – or at least hopefully – that will keep the powder (which can be really hard on lungs and upper respiratory passageways) from floating on northeast winds up to a couple of miles from the port.
- Of the five port commissioners, it’s a pretty good bet that two of them will oppose getting into port-of-call cruise ship operations. One more will kill the idea. Opposition in the community is spreading. Even members of the Chamber of Commerce have doubts, along with downtown merchants. After all, they say, the docking fees will go to the port, and the local sales will be nickels and dimes. If you have opinions, register them with the commission this coming month. Your contact is David Kaufman, [email protected]
Commenters wishing to spread the word might want to copy all commissioners:Danny Fullwood [email protected]Miriam Hill [email protected]Mike Cole [email protected]Ray Nelson [email protected]Justin Taylor [email protected]