In the late 1980s, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay developed a heavy-lift barge slip to serve industrial sites on the North Spit of lower Coos Bay. Since that time the barge slip was used on a limited basis to move large production equipment for various industrial operations in the region. In 2004, the Port sold 32 acres of industrial land and the barge slip to Southport Forest Products for the construction of a modern small-log sawmill. Prior to the opening of the mill, the Port also developed the North Spit Rail Spur to serve the mill and other industrial lands in the TransPacific Parkway corridor.
The ConnectOregon I multimodal transportation system funding program presented an opportunity for the Port and Southport to partner on development of a multimodal barge facility with access to rail and road. The barge slip is now reconfigured to handle ocean going cargo barges able to move inbound logs, outbound woodchips and a variety of breakbulk general cargo. Total project cost was approximately $650,000. The Port/Southport partnership was awarded $504,000 from ConnectOregon I and Southport provided the balance of the required funds.
The Port and Southport negotiated a contract with the Oregon Department of Transportation for the state funding and project oversight of the barge slip redevelopment. All required permitting was completed prior to construction. Southport finished the project during December 2007. In 2012, dredging was completed and the privately-owned barge slip is now in use for intermodal cargo movements.