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Natchez Inc. to help fund Rotterdam trip

NATCHEZ — Natchez Inc. has agreed to fund a trip to study a port in the Netherlands for two Adams County officials next month.

The Miss-Lou Regionalism Steering Committee first floated the idea of visiting the Port of Rotterdam — Europe’s largest port — earlier this year in the hopes of replicating the success along the Mississippi River.

The Rotterdam port is overseen by a single port authority, and with construction of a port in Vidalia currently under way, the steering committee’s members have voiced hopes that the best practices seen in Rotterdam can be implemented in the Miss-Lou.

Natchez Inc. Chair Sue Stedman the economic development body’s board voted to fund at $5,000 apiece three people’s trips to Rotterdam — Natchez Inc. Director Chandler Russ, an official from the city and an official from Adams County’s government or the Natchez-Adams County Port Authority.

The Natchez Inc. board did not specify which city or county official would receive the funding. Instead, Stedman said the board left it up to the separate entities to appoint who would go.

The funding is conditional, however, on an appropriate city official from Vidalia and the Vidalia port director or an economic development official going on the trip as well, Stedman said.

“We see this as being beneficial from having the two sides of (the Mississippi River) develop our relationship, particularly if Vidalia is going to have a port,” she said. “We want those two entities to work in unison with each other and not in competition with each other.”

“If the appropriate people go and have the experience see the operation, we are expecting it will be fruitful.”

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said he is not aware of anyone from the county board planning to take the Rotterdam trip.

“None of us see the need to go,” he said.

Natchez-Adams County Port Director Anthony Hauer said he is not sure at this time if anyone from the port will be going on the trip, a decision that will ultimately be up to the port commissioners.

“The trip to Rotterdam has been long in the making and we, here, at the port commission have been waiting for some advisories and itineraries, and we have not see that at this point,” he said. “At this time, I think it is a matter of collecting information to determine what the commissioners positions are.”

Stedman said Russ would also take the opportunity to visit three companies in the area while in Rotterdam.

“Rotterdam has the extra benefit for us from the Natchez Inc. side,” Stedman said. “It is not just going to be a paid vacation.”