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Port of Demopolis, Alabama

A small 16-acre facility, the Port of Demopolis is operated by the Alabama State Port Authority. It is located on the shores of the Black Warrior River, to the east of the city of Demopolis in Marengo County, and close to the confluence with the Tombigbee River. The Marengo County Port Authority has an annual income of $500,000.

The United States Coast Guard has one cutter, the CGC Wedge, in Demopolis, and another in Eufaula, Alabama. In October 2016, the city received a $400,000 grant to improve an access road supporting a saw mill that was being developed at the time. The Two Rivers project was expected to produce around 250,000 tons of chips, reviving interest in the port. Access to the West Rock Chip Mill was expected to be improved as well.

From Demopolis, vessels can access the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Rail service in the city is offered by companies such as BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, and the Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway. Major highways in Demopolis include U.S. Routes 80 and 43. Several state routes are also nearby.

Port Traffic Safety

As at any port, traffic safety is of utmost importance. It is not only wayward vessels and mishandled cargo that workers and others on the premises need to worry about. Unsafe driving, inadequate traffic signs and signals, weather, and the condition of driving surfaces can create hazards. Areas of ports often don’t have the illumination that public roads do, plus there’s the risk of driving near cargo containers that might not be stable or forklift operators that may not have their full attention on drivers, or be exhausted from a long day’s work. There are often pedestrians on the same paths as vehicles, adding to the hazards on port properties.

The risks can increase when shift changes take place. In addition to workers being tired, there is more traffic, so vehicle breakdowns from a lack of maintenance or individuals who drive at unsafe speeds or park improperly can create dangers. In addition to cargo handling, welding and repair work can make things more hazardous, especially in places where fuel vapors may be present. Given all the transportation dangers in ports, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees regulations that include coastal and inland ports.

Other Port Hazards

Port grounds are often busy places. They also have dangers such as chemicals, which can come from vehicles or cargo. Fires and explosions are a real risk, but injuries can also occur during crane, winch, and manual lifting operations, or when mooring a vessel. One also has to be careful when walking. A slip on a walkway or off a ladder can cause a debilitating injury or death. People have also been known to fall from docks and vessels into the water, which can be fatal.

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