Lease operator SEACOR AMH is ending their 6-year stint of running Port Itawamba.
The Louisiana-based company has overseen Itawamba County’s marine highway container-on-barge system and daily operations at the local port, located off Access Road, since Nov. 2014.
According to Itawamba County Board of Supervisors President Eric Hughes, the decision to pull out of Port Itawamba was SEACOR’s.
“Their lease was up and they chose not to renew,” Hughes told The Times. “Right now they are just operating month-to-month until they leave.”
Hughes said ScottsMiracle-Gro Mulch Production Company, which is supported by SEACOR, is pulling out as well.
Outside of Fulton, SEACOR operates ports in Lousiana, Tennessee, and seven ports along the Mississippi River in Missouri.
Port Itawamba is equipped to handle truck-to-ground storage, ground storage to barge, barge-to-ground, ground storage to truck, and has rail access.
The port’s container-on-barge service was the brainchild of former ICDC Director Greg Deakle and represented a $4.2-million investment in Itawamba County.
Part of this program included a search to find a service provider to run the barge operation. The search was narrowed to three companies, and SEACOR AMH was selected in late 2013. Per their contract with Itawamba county, SEACOR initially paid $8,000 a month to lease Port Itawamba, later increased to $28,000 per month.
According to Hughes, other companies have expressed an interest in taking on the operation of Port Itawamba, although the county has yet to announce an agreement with new operator.