The New Bourbon Regional Port Authority Board last week entered into a lease agreement with Beelman River Terminals to oversee operations for the Port of New Bourbon.
The seven-person board, appointed by commissioners from both Perry and Ste. Genevieve counties, met in Ste. Genevieve July 24 to sign the contract.
The 25-year contract between Beelman and the port authority begins Aug. 1, and brings the Port of New Bourbon one step closer to full operations, a culmination of 30 years worth of cooperative effort between Perry and Ste. Genevieve counties to construct a facility.
The port, located at Mississippi River mile 102, about three miles south Ste. Genevieve off of Highway 61 on Cottonwood Road, is made up of a 1,075-foot harbor with a 48-foot wide dock extending 147 feet into the river. It will be used for inbound and outbound products, and is Missouri’s only public port located between St. Louis and Cape Girardeau.
Beelman River Terminals currently operates three river terminals in St. Louis, Venice, Ill., and Chicago, Ill., in addition to a Madison, Ill., rail yard. Its St. Louis facility has the largest dock front general cargo warehouse at St. Louis harbor. Beelman has been in the shipping business since 1906, and is under the third generation leadership of Frank “Sam” Beelman, III.
As per the lease agreement, Beelman will pay $65,000 annually to rent the facility, in addition to a charge of 25 cents per ton, after the initial 260,000 tons handled annually, for the first five years. Pricing will be re-negotiated on a five-year schedule. The lease includes roughly three acres of property on the south end of the port, including 500 feet of dock and harbor frontage, with an additional 800 feet of river frontage for securing vessels. The Bourbon Regional Port Authority Board will retain control of the remaining acreage to the north of the dock as well as the portions to the south that are not contracted to Beelman.
Sam Beelman, head of the Beelman family’s shipping company, was on-hand Tuesday when Missouri House Rep. Paul Wieland, chairman of the Missouri House of Representatives Issue Development Committee, joined Ste. Gen and Perry officials at the port as part of Wieland’s tour of Missouri ports. Port Authority Chairman Ron Inman introduced Beelman as the port’s new head stevedore, saying he was the right man for the job.
“Sam has been named to run the port,” Inman said. “He has other ports in the St. Louis area and across the river and one of the bigger trucking companies in the state of Missouri. We welcome him aboard. We appreciate the knowledge, he’s an aggressive person, like a lot of the rest of us and he’s got a lot of things he’s planning to do.”
Beelman told Wieland the New Bourbon facility would be the only public port in the area, and projected most of the business handled would be outbound.
The port’s lease with Beelman will expire July 31, 2038.