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Two pieces of steel critical to our future

Two simple pieces of steel may hold the future of industry in Natchez-Adams County.

More than a century ago, railroads helped build America.

Today a simple, but critical, rail line connecting Natchez to cross-country rail lines remains a vital link to help grow our area’s economy.

Those two long steel rails are becoming more critical by the day. Earlier this week, Genesis Energy, which operates a terminal at the Natchez-Adams County Port, announced plans to continue ramping up its use of the rail line.

The company told its shareholders that it should be able to handle up to 100 rail cars per day by the end of this year. That’s an amazing feat and one that might have seemed nearly impossible a couple of years ago.

When the Natchez rail line was sold a few years ago, the fear among many industry experts was that the low traffic on the line would cause the new owners to simply shut down the line and scrap it. The theory then was that rail line had more scrap value than it had in operational value.

A couple of years and an improved business climate later, and it would seem the railroad’s future has made a 180-degree turn.

We’re thankful to Genesis Energy for creating jobs in our community and keeping the vital rail link operational.

But we’re more thankful that our community stepped up a few years ago and supported having a professional economic development operation. That has made all the difference in the world in the community’s renewed economic spirit.