In 1971, the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System opened, creating an inland waterway system that starts in the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and passes through southeast Oklahoma and Arkansas to join the Mississippi River. The waterway is operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System can accommodate barges carrying about 1500 tons of cargo, 15 times that of a rail car and 60 times that of a truck.
With the creation of the waterway, the Oklahoma State Legislature approved and granted authority to create port authorities within the State. The City of Muskogee and the Muskogee County Board of Commissioners subsequently created the Muskogee City-County Port Authority. Today, the Oklahoma segment of the waterway supports over six thousand jobs and 85 industries along the waterway.
The Muskogee City-County Port Authority is tasked with promoting the development of port facilities, ensuring the soundness of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, and encouraging area industry to benefit the city, county, and state.
Located where the Arkansas, Grand, and Verdigris Rivers meet, the Port of Muskogee links Oklahoma with inland ports on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Illinois Rivers and with seaports worldwide via the Gulf of Mexico. The Port of Muskogee employs a cost-effective blend of intermodal transportation (barge, truck, and rail) for moving equipment and machinery, importing raw materials, and distributing finished products. Industries depending on access to the Port of Muskogee and the waterway contribute over 2500 jobs to the city and county.
In 2011, the Port of Muskogee served almost 550 barges carrying over 835 thousand tons of cargo. Inbound cargoes were dominated by nepheline syenite (a "green" mining mineral with many uses for building materials), clay, steel, fertilizer, coke, zircon sand. Other inbound cargoes brought to the Port of Muskogee by barge in 2011 included molasses, rebar, iron ore, feed products, cookie meal, asphalt, glass cullet, and granite fines. In 2011, cargoes leaving the Port of Muskogee by barge included coke, fly ash, and steel.
Located at mile 393.8R on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, the Port of Muskogee contains public and private port terminals and over 500 acres of industrial land. The Port of Muskogee includes a 106.7-meter (350-foot) concrete wharf and twenty mooring dolphins lining over 914 meters (3000 feet) of waterfront. The Port of Muskogee offers high-quality utilities and roads and railroad facilities for cargo storage and transfer. The Port of Muskogee is home to US Foreign Trade Zone 165.
The Port of Muskogee's Riverside Industrial Park covers about 28 acres of undeveloped industrial land with 85.3 meters (280 feet) of navigable waterfront. Three Forks Harbor at the waterway's mile 393L is a mixed-use port development that provides boat slips, fueling facilities, a 100-ton travel lift, a ship's store, and a boat yard. The port authority's offices are located at Three Forks Harbor.
The John T. Griffin Industrial Park in the Port of Muskogee is a fully-developed 290-acre industrial park about 11 kilometers (seven miles) southwest of the Port of Muskogee and about 4.8 kilometers (three miles) north of Davis Field Airport.
Just over one nautical mile downriver from the Port of Muskogee is Three Forks Harbor. The port authority's offices are located here, and it is home to the River Center and state-of-the-art marina facilities. The Port of Muskogee's Three Forks Harbor is 518.2 meters (1700 feet) long and 152.4 meters (500 feet) wide. The entrance channel to Three Forks Harbor is 15.2 meters (50 feet) wide.
The River Center is a multi-purpose events center that contributes to Three Forks Harbor's growing reputation as a recreation and entertainment center. Three Forks Harbor in the Port of Muskogee offers a wide range of opportunities for boaters, fishers, bikers, hikers, and outdoor-lovers. It is also a popular center for events like the Kids' Fishing Rodeo, River Rumba, and Cardboard Boat Regatta.
Boat slips at the Port of Muskogee's Three Forks Harbor marina are owned and operated by Arrowhead Boat Sales and Marina. Slips with water and electricity range from 7.6 to 22.9 meters (25 to 75 feet) long. The 12.2-, 15.2- and 22.9-meter (40-, 50-, and 75-foot) ships have Satellite television. All renters of these Port of Muskogee slips have access to the boaters' lounge at the River Center, showers, WiFi, and laundry. Slips are available for monthly and annual rentals that vary by size of the slip. Arrowhead Boat Sales and Marina in the Port of Muskogee also helps boaters organize both short and long cruises.
Johnston's Terminal Muskogee provides barge, truck, and rail trans-loading services in the Port of Muskogee's public terminal area under contract with the port authority. Johnston's Terminal Muskogee handles large volumes of bulk and breakbulk cargoes that include containers, sand, salt, steel pipe, plate, coil, beam, clay, feldspar, coal, coke, granite fines, grain, paper, fertilizer, scrap, glass, and ore.
Johnston's Terminal in the Port of Muskogee provides handling services that include railroad switching in the public terminal area and fleeting and staging areas for as many as 75 barges. The Port of Muskogee's Johnston's Terminal has a 1200-horsepower towboat to switch and fleet barges along the riverfront. Johnston's Terminal is equipped with one 35-ton and two 10-ton overhead cranes, a 60-ton mobile crane, four 16-ton forklifts, four front-end loaders, and a track excavator for unloading bulk cargoes from rail. The terminal also has a 6000-link belt excavator with a 12.3-meter (13.5 yard) hydraulic clam shell bucket and a 16.8-meter (55-foot) boom. The terminal also has certified 200-ton capacity rail and truck scales.
The Public Terminal Area in the Port of Muskogee has over 41 acres of inside and outside storage facilities. These include a 1.7 thousand square meter (18 thousand square foot) heated transit shed equipped with a sprinkler system, a 1.7-acre storage warehouse with overhead cranes, and a 780 square meter (8400 square foot) storage building. The Port of Muskogee also has 39 acres of open storage as well as open concrete storage for 20 thousand tons of cargo.
The Midland Valley Branch Line Railroad is a 7.2-kilometer (4.5-mile) railroad linking the Port of Muskogee, the John T. Griffin Industrial Park, and the city's Southside Industrial Park with the Union Pacific Railroad. It also offers short- and long-term storage space for as many as 300 rail cars.
The Port of Muskogee is served by North America's two largest railroads, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP). The Port of Muskogee is a stop on the UP's heavily-travelled main line that connects Chicago and Houston, and UP's Muskogee Yard is located conveniently near the Port of Muskogee. UP brings rail cars to the Port of Muskogee marshaling yard five days per week.
Trucking is an important part of the Port of Muskogee's cargo-moving network. Industries using the Port of Muskogee have easy access to US Highways 69, 64, and 62 and to Oklahoma's Highway 165 and the Muskogee Turnpike. Through these routes, the Port of Muskogee is connected to Interstate Highways 40, 44, and 35.
Over-sized and over-weight cargoes are moved to/from the Port of Muskogee over approved routes that are maintained by the State's Department of Transportation, and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety issues permits for these cargoes. There is unrestricted movement of over-sized and over-weight cargoes within the Port of Muskogee. Permits are issued to truck carriers that are no more than 4.3 meters (14 feet) high, 4.9 meters (16 feet) wide, and 33.5 meters (110 feet) long with gross weight under 60 short tons. Same-day permits are available in most cases. Permits are $20 for over-sized cargo and $20 plus $5 per one thousand pounds for cargo beyond 45 short tons.
Davis Field Airport is about 15 kilometers (nine miles) southwest of the Port of Muskogee. The airport has a 2.1-kilometer (1.4-mile) runway that can accommodate large aircraft. The airport also offers full services that include fuels, hangars, maintenance, and base operators. Originally built as a Ground Air Support Base for the US Government, Davis Field was released to the city in 1967.