Industries discussing port safety at voluntary roundtable group

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, July 17, 2013

NATCHEZ — A group of industries in the Natchez-Adams County Port area have formed a voluntary roundtable in an effort to ensure future safety.

Enersteel Operations Manager Aaron Shermer said five port industries — Enersteel, von Drehle, Dozer Inc., Genesis Energy and Elevance Renewable Sciences — are currently participating in the roundtable group, which will have quarterly meetings.

“It is an information-sharing committee,” he said. “Basically, right now our mission is to inform port businesses of hazards related to each (industrial) site.”

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The group has had one meeting so far, and was prompted after an incident at an industrial site approximately a month ago. Though Shermer declined to discuss to which industry the incident was related or what the incident specifically was, Natchez Fire crews responded to Elevance in mid-June in what company officials characterized as a precautionary measure after insulation on one of the facility’s tanks started smoldering.

“Basically, a company neighboring Enersteel had a process upset, and it changed the explosive limits of the atmosphere in our acreage, so we had to stop production for a day-and-a-half,” Shermer said.

The goal of the roundtable is so the industries can keep abreast of what is happening across the port area, he said.

“All of the businesses can learn what the other businesses do and how we can affect other businesses with our operations,” he said.

“We want people to communicate and everyone to understand what is needed — it keeps people informed of what is going on in the area.”

While Shermer said the initial membership of the roundtable is only five companies, they have reached out to other industries in the port and to the Natchez-Adams County Port Authority, and will provide an invitation to other companies as they locate in the port area.

Company officials with other companies in the roundtable did not return calls for comment Tuesday.