The Port of Yellow Bend and the Port of Crossett are among three public ports awarded grant funds from the Arkansas Waterways Commission’s Port, Intermodal, and Waterway Development Grant Program, according to the Arkansas Waterways Commission news release announcing the awards.

The Port of Yellow Bend received $72,274 for structural painting of the facility crane and building repairs.

The Port of Crossett received $38,692 for liquid product tank cleaning and inspection.

The other awardee is the Helena Harbor. The Helena Harbor received $287,800 for the Helena Harbor 2021 Port Development Project in preparations for container on barge operations by 2023.

“I’m delighted to see funds awarded to Ports across the state,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “The Arkansas Port, Intermodal, and Waterway Development Grant Program plays an integral role in growing the economy and increases Arkansas’s competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”

The Arkansas Waterways Commission’s Arkansas Port, Intermodal, and Waterway Development Grant Program reinvests the ad valorem taxes paid by barge lines on the value of the barges traversing Arkansas’ navigable waterways. The grant provides funds for public ports and intermodal authorities to make capital improvements and facilitates dredging projects, according to the Arkansas Waterways Commission.

The grant program increases Arkansas’ competitive advantage on the nation’s inland river system to entice increased waterborne commerce for the navigable rivers in Arkansas. The waterways are an economic driver for the state and water transportation is the most cost-effective, safe, and environmentally friendly mode of shipping bulk and oversized cargo.

“Our state’s waterways provide a substantial economic impact and are vital to our efforts to export Arkansas-made products to markets throughout the world,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “These grants will go a long way in making the necessary improvements to ensure trade continues in a timely and efficient manner.”

Since 2016, the grant program has awarded more than $5 million in grants to Arkansas ports, intermodal authorities and public entities, according to Arkansas Waterways Commission Director Cassandra Caldwell.

“The Commission is very pleased to see the funds from the ad valorem taxes collected on barge transportation being allocated to further develop Arkansas port infrastructure, encourage freight movement, and promote economic development along Arkansas’ commercially navigable waterways,” Caldwell said.