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Vessels navigating Calcasieu River and Pass Channel during last 12 months drawing 12 feet 6 inches or over, period April 1945–March 1946—Continued
THE UNION SULPHUR Co., INC.,
Sulphur, La., April 9, 1946. Mr. ALVA FRITH, Director, Port of Lake Charles,
Lake Charles, La. DEAR MR. FRITH: In order to assist you in your petition to the United States Corps of Engineers to authorize the deepening of the Lake Charles Ship Channel and Calcasieu River and to show our need for such deepening we wish to present pertinent data regarding our operations in this area.
In the first quarter of this year, approximately 923,237 barrels of crude petroleum has been loaded into tankers from our terminal and tank farm at Clifton Ridge on the Calcasieu River. The managers of the tanker fleets carrying crude petroleum from our Clifton Ridge docks have indicated it is highly desirable that they use tankers of the T-2 type in this service. The dimensions of the vessels which form the bulwark of these fleets are approximately as follows: Dead weight
16,500 tons. Carrying capacity (about)
138,000 barrels. Lenght
523 feet. Breadth
68 feet. Normal loaded coastwise draft.. 31 feet 6 inches in salt water. At certain seasons of the year can
be loaded to tropical zone draft of- 32 feet 10 inches. When loaded and underway have
tendency to squat in the water about
2 feet. We are further informed, by the managers of these tanker fleets, that it is estimated the T-2 tanker is a more economical unit to operate and will reduce the unit cost of transporting oil by this type vessel, as against the old type tankers, by approximately 30 percent.
It is evident from the above that a channel dredge to 35 feet is required, and we urge every effort be made to have the channel so deepened. Very truly yours,
FRANK B. MARKLE. Mr. LARCADE. I would like to ask permission for Mr. Christopher Story to appear. I would like to present to the committee Mr. Christopher Story.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. I understand that there are several here who have statements. If you gentlemen will make your oral statements as brief as possible and then submit the entire statements, together with your data, for the record, it might help to expedite the hearings.
STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER STORY, REPRESENTING THE CITIES
SERVICE CO., LAKE CHARLES, LA.
Mr. Story. I think, Mr. Chairman, that I will make the briefest statement of any one so far, if I may.
We operate a fleet of 25 ocean-going tankers at the Cities Service Oil Co., among which there are 18 of the so-called T-2 type of ships which find it very difficult to load adequate cargoes at Lake Charles refinery, due to the harbor conditions. We load at this great refinery and ship either every day or every other day. Sometimes five ships come in at once; at other times there
be a gap of a day or so. We have had to divert some of these ships to Port Arthur to top off, at enormous expense. We have had to send other ships with only part cargoes, which was also expensive.
I am sure that with these contemplated harbor improvements Lake Charles is a port that not only the tankers of the United States, but the tankers of the world would like to come and load at.
I can say personally that when I have nominated ships to load at Lake Charles in the past there has always been an objection to loading large ships there, due to the harbor conditions.
The Government has just completed a shipbuilding program of 571 of these T-2 tankers which represents 70 percent of all of the tankers built in the United States.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. What is the draft of them?
Mr. STORY. They draw about 32 feet in fresh water. These will be the boats of the future. The older, smaller boats, are rapidly being retired from service.
Mr. Chairman, unless there are some questions, that is all that I have for the record.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Thank you very much. You may submit such additional statement as you care to, for the record.
I believe Mr. Larcade said there was another gentleman who wanted to be heard.
Mr. LARCADE. I take pleasure in presenting Mr. F. W. Mann, of the Continental Oil Co.
STATEMENT OF F. W. MANN, REPRESENTING THE CONTINENTAL
OIL CO., LAKE CHARLES, LA. Mr. MANN. My name is F. W. Mann, of the Continental Oil Co.
I have no written statement to submit, and not a great deal to say except that our position is just the same as that of the Cities Service Oil Co., except that the degree may be different.
We are trying to operate a petroleum refinery at Lake Charles that uses crude oil coming from nearby Louisiana fields. Some of that oil is refined at the Lake Charles refinery; the remainder of it is moved out to other refineries, although we now plan to manufacture all of that crude in Lake Charles, so that we will have products moving out rather than crude. We do have a substantial volume, and we have exactly the same conditions when we want to move a tanker out. There are three choices: one is to use an old, small, inefficient tanker; another is to use a large one and load it lightly; the other is to load it partly at Lake Charles and have it go on out and around through Sabine Pass up to Port Arthur and finish loading there, all of which is very expensive.
There is also another condition. I understand that the pilots of these ships leaving Lake Charles are so wary of the channel in the river that after 2 p. m. they will not leave; they stay there until the next morning; and with these ships worth $120 an hour for demurrage, that runs into a great deal of expense.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Is it on account of the shallowness of the channel that they remain there?
Mr. Mann. Yes, sir; and the closeness. They often take chances going out where their draft is a little close; and sometimes I understand that the wind blows the water in the wrong direction and the depth is a little lower than normal, and they will not take a chance on anything like that during the night.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Mr. Mann, what is the volume of production of your plant and the other plants there, now, compared with the volume during the war period? Has there been any material change?
Mr. Mann. You are speaking of the plants in the Lake Charles area?
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Yes.
Mr. Mann. No; there has been no change. There is this situation in our own case. We have the Lake Charles refinery which is rated at 10,000 barrels capacity per day. I spoke a moment ago about the fact that we are also moving crude through there and running it to other refineries up on the East coast. We are going to discontinue that. We are going to run that crude oil into the Cities Service refinery temporarily. We are planning within a few years to expand our own Lake Charles refinery. In the meantime we are going to use some of Cities Service capacity. They are going to manufacture some of this crude for us. So we at least have not changed the situation either up or down yet, but we do intend to, providing this channel situation is cleared up. We intend to expand the Lake Charles refinery, probably double or triple it.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. You have the same problem as exists in various other ports and harbors in getting depths to take care of the larger vessels?
Mr. Mann. Yes, sir; and that is brought about by this trend today toward larger and more efficient tankers. They are in fairly general use, now, and we could not, even if we wanted to, continue to operate with the smaller ones, because it is a competitive situation, and what the others do we have to do.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Thank you very much.
Mr. STORY. May I answer a question that was asked with reference to production. There has been no diminution in the Cities Service refinery since the war. They are producing about 80,000 barrels a day there now. I was through the plant with the general manager the other day, and he told me that it was just as high as at any time during the war.
Mr. PYBURN. I would like to put one statement in the record with regard to the local interests furnishing the rights-of-way, spoil areas, and so forth. The dock board of Lake Charles will assume the responsibility of making necessary arrangements for the rights-of-way and the spoil areas. As these gentlemen have brought out, the tankers are loaded today on shallow draft, and they have shown the amount of expense to the different refineries and to the public as a whole. Because it is an old saying that Jones pays the freight, the quicker this channel is deepened the quicker the cost of the transportation in this and other areas will be decreased.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. I understand that there is no objection from any source to this project?
Mr. PYBURN. No objection from any source. The only stipulation which was in the record was in connection with the infiltration of salt water, which was covered by the Mermentau project, with the lock at the mouth of the Calcasieu River.
Mr. LARCADE. We have the same problem in our Calcasieu River channel as you have in the Savannah channel, Mr. Peterson. The two projects are comparable and very similar.
In this connection I would like to call the attention of the committee, in view of the testimony we have had in regard to the Sacramento controversy, to the cost of dredging channels. Our situation in the Calcasieu River is such that we are able to get our dredging done at a very low cost. I have before me a memorandum prepared by the Board of Engineers showing that the average cost of dredging in the Calcasieu River is 5.23 cents as against much higher costs in other sections of the country.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia, I believe that is the lowest that I have seen presented for any of the projects.
Mr. LARCADE. I would like to file also at this time a list of additional industries that use the port of Lake Charles, in addition to those mentioned in testimony by those who have appeared.
Some of the industrial plants located in Lake Charles are as follows: Louisiana State Rice Mill; Noble Trotter Rice Mill; Farmers Rice Mill; Bass Harless Lumber Co., Inc.; Davidson Sash & Door Co.; Lake Charles Sash & Door Co.; Lake Charles Cotton Compress & Warehouse Co.; Mathieson Alkali Works; Swift Packing Co., Evangeline Iron Works; Reiser Machine Shop; Buck Brick Manufacturing Co.; Clooney Construction Co.; Kelly-Weber Fertilizer Co.; East Broad Mattress Factory; Concrete Products Co.; Lake Charles Products Co. (cellulose); Wackman Welded Ware Co.; and the Calcasieu Macaroni Co.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. If there are any others who would like to have the record show that they are present and interested in this project, they may submit their names, in connection with such statement or data as they care to submit, to the clerk to be incorporated in the record.
Mr. LARCADE. I think this concludes the presentation on this project.
LOUISIANA-TEXAS INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY-PLAQUEMINE-MORGAN CITY
STATEMENT OF COL. P. A. FERINGA, UNITED STATES ARMY,
RESIDENT ENGINEER, BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Colonel FERINGA. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the report on Louisiana-Texas Intracoastal Waterway-PlaquemineMorgan City alternate route—is in response to a resolution adopted May 18, 1943, by the Senate Commerce Committee.
The Intracoastal Waterway is an artificial sea level canal with project dimensions generally of 12 feet deep by 125 feet wide extending along the Gulf coast from Apalachee Bay, Fla., to Brownsville, Tex. West from the Mississippi River two routes are available as far as Morgan City on the lower Atchafalaya River. The direct route is through Harvey lock-425 by 75 by 12 feet-about 98 miles above the Head of Passes, thence through natural streams and land cuts for 96 miles south and west of Morgan City. The alternate route termed the Plaquemine waterway leaves the Mississippi River at Plaquemine, 208 miles above the Head of Passes.
Prior to construction of the East Atchafalaya protection levee, the waterway beyond Plaquemine followed Bayou Plaquemine, lower Grand River, Chopin Chute, and other waters to reach Morgan City through Bayou Long, Drews Pass, and Berwick Bay. The total length was 64 miles. Now the improved channel follows Bayou Plaquemine and lower Grand River to and through a gap in the East Floodway Levee, and thence along the levee borrow pit and through Berwick Bay to Morgan City, La., a total distance of 56 miles. A permanent connection between thme lower Grand River and the borrow pit will be provided by the construction of the Bayou Sorrel lock-500 by 56 by 12 feet-about 18 miles below Plaquemine under the Mississippi River flood-control project. The lock at Plaquemine-260 by 55 by 10 feet-was completed in 1909. Thus it is 37 years old. The lock is not obsolete but it is certainly obsolescent.
The commerce of Plaquemine waterway for the 10-year period 1935 to 1944, fluctuated between a low of 280,200 tons in 1935 and a high of 3,477,400 tons in 1942 and averaged 1,359,800 tons for the period. Commerce for the year 1944 was 2,358,100 tons which consisted principally of petroleum and its products and rafted logs. Vessel traffic for that year totaled 3,534 northbound and 3,529 southbound trips of steamers, motor vessels, and barges.
The area traversed by the Plaquemine-Morgan City section of the waterway comprises swamplands that merge with the rich agricultural lands on the east. The principal agricultural crops are sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, hay, and truck. Industries in the area include sugar refining and the production of oil. Other activities are lumbering, trapping, and fishing.
The Board recommends modification of the existing project for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to provide for a channel 12 feet deep