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Madison County has access to some of the most vital ports and waterways in the United States.

Port of Vicksburg

Only 70 miles from the mighty Mississippi River, businesses in Madison County have access to a major waterway through the Port of Vicksburg. The port is a United States Customs port of entry and a designated general purpose foreign-trade zone. The port consists of a slack-water channel 9,500 feet in length and 300 feet wide with 12 feet minimum depth. Vicksburg Harbor is connected to the Mississippi River by a 4,800-foot-long channel maintained at 150 feet wide and 12 feet deep.

Facilities at the port include a 15-ton bridge crane and a T-dock equipped with a 125-ton crane; 129,000 square feet of insured and sprinklered space and open concrete slab storage; and, rail and road loop, allowing direct loading and unloading from barge to truck to rail. One of the most outstanding features of the port is the LASH program. This program enables a barge to be sealed for international travel in Vicksburg and transferred directly to New Orleans where the barge is then loaded, with products still sealed. Ten barge lines service the Port of Vicksburg year-round without seasonal limitations.

The port is accessible from US Highway 61, which intersects with Interstate 20 six miles away. The site is also within a Commercial Trucking Zone and is served by 21 truck lines.

In 2002, the port began a $1.2 million expansion that included additions such as a 30- to 40-ton crane and extension of a rail spur that runs behind the port to allow rail cars to also load and unload up front.

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Port of Gulfport

The Port of Gulfport is only 185 miles from Madison County. In 2005, the port–which has been hailed as “the most accessible, cost efficient, deep water Port on the Gulf of Mexico”–was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Following years of rebuilding efforts, funding was authorized in July 2009 to restore three berths to full operation, an effort which has now been completed. And the port has regained its status as the third-busiest container port in the nation. In 2010, the port at Gulfport handled more than 2.15 million tons of cargo, an increase of 6% over the previous year. The figures for 2011 are expected to increase, based on current national economic projections.  

The Port of Gulfport was established in 1902 as a deep-water port located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 16 miles from the Sea Buoy. Access to the Port is provided by a short, 16-mile shipping channel which extends northward from vessel anchorage just south of Ship Island. All piers at the Port of Gulfport are public, however, most facilities are operated through leases, operating agreements, or space assignment agreements with private operators or users. Through the development of a world-class deep-water port on the Gulf of Mexico with direct access to sea-lanes, air, rail, and interstate highways, the Mississippi Coast is fast becoming a leader in international trade.

The Mississippi State Port at Gulfport moves over 2.3 million tons of cargo annually, including such diverse products as tropical fruit, frozen poultry, ilmenite ore, livestock, aluminum, steel, paper, other forest products, and heavy lift cargoes. Gulfport is ranked as the third-busiest container port on the Gulf of Mexico and 17th in the United States. Gulfport set new records in vessel count, tonnage, and containerized cargo movements in 2003. Nearly 200,000 TEUs were shipped through the Port, a 32% increase over 2002.

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