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First signs of Genesis operations roll in on rail cars

Editor’s Note: The story  published below originally incorrectly identified Southern Pacific Resource Corporation. We regret the error and are happy to set the record straight. 

NATCHEZ — A handful of railroad cars at the Natchez-Adams County Port might not seem that noteworthy, but they are. The cars are the first of a possible 20,000-car annual increase in rail traffic in the port.

Oil company Genesis Energy received the first seven cars for unloading at its Natchez terminal Friday.

Groundbreaking for upgrades at the former Tessenderlo Davison Chemical terminal, which is owned by Genesis, was in August, and the company has done some limited hiring since then. The company currently employs six people at the Natchez terminal.

“The arrival of the cars means that everything is coming to an end, the development project is winding down and operations are about to start,” said Andy Anderson, the terminal manager.

When Canadian dilbit — an oil product made from blending diluent and bitumen — in the cars is unloaded, Anderson said they will be returned empty to Calgary, Canada.

While the company won’t be hiring hundreds of employees, the Genesis terminal is important for the port because of the increase in rail and barge traffic it will bring.

Genesis has partnered with Southern Pacific Resource Corporation to transport oil products from Canada to the coastal refinery market by way of the port. That partnership will ultimately move 20,000 new rail cars through the port.

Adams County built a $1.1 million loading and unloading system in the port area as part of the project, which was funded by a Community Development Block Grant and Mississippi Development Authority-financed rail loan. The money generated by Genesis’ lease agreement pays the $700,000 loan.

Genesis is slightly behind on the timeline it set for the project, but things are moving along smoothly, said Grace Ann Nathanson, the company’s human resources officer.

“We got set back a little bit by the hurricane that came through in September, but we have really caught up so things are looking up,” she said.

“The terminal is going to keep getting more and more cars weekly, which means we will be hiring more people soon.”

While the future hiring will be somewhat limited — Anderson said he needs four new employees for operations — Nathanson said it will ultimately depend on how many cars the terminal receives in the coming months.

The company has said it will hire between 16 and 20 people.

Applications to work at Genesis can be made at the WIN Job Center.