The Little Rock Port Authority has been awarded $9,219,218 in federal grants in 2021-2022, beginning with the Department of Homeland Safety/FEMA Port Security Grant award in August 2021.
PORT SECURITY GRANT AWARD: $570,000
Following up on recommendations from an IRPT cybersecurity webinar, in August 2020 the Department of Homeland Security Cyber and Infrastructure (CISA) team, along with personnel from ADEM (the Arkansas Homeland Security and Preparedness Agency), conducted a Security Assessment at First Entry (SAFE) evaluation at the Port of Little Rock. Although Port staff members have regularly participated in U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security (MARSEC) meetings, the SAFE evaluation was the first one of its kind at the Port of Little Rock. The Port Security Grant is intended to address some needed security measures identified through the SAFE assessment.
The Little Rock Port Authority Surveillance Integration Project will install all new security cameras at all Port-owned infrastructure, with eyes on the water as well as structures, and install cameras with license plate reader capability at the two entrances to the “wet Port” (the area behind the levee) at Lindsey Road and Slackwater Harbor Drive, to provide one seamless, integrated system controlled by the Little Rock Port Authority (LRPA) that will help provide 24-7 security at the Port.
The project will enhance Cybersecurity and Maritime Domain Awareness of all Port and nearby business assets by providing real time alerts to Port staff that can readily be relayed to local police and other first responders as needed, to mitigate problems associated with unauthorized entry to administrative facilities that house critical computer systems and documents. The security cameras funded by the project will aid in identification of intruders so they may be captured.
PORT INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT GRANT AWARD: $3,079,845
December 2021, the Little Rock Port Authority was notified of a Port Infrastructure Development Grant award from U.S. Department of Transportation/MARAD. The Little Rock Port Authority applied for the grant under the Small Projects at Small Ports category.
The Port of Little Rock Mooring Upgrade Project will restore and expand the Port’s current barge fleeting capacity on the Arkansas River, which is part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigational System (MKARNS). The project will replace fifteen unsafe deadman ground anchors that are near the end of their useful life with steel monopile dolphins, and install an additional thirty-two dolphins in other locations.
Located on the most serviceable and reliable segment of the MKARNS, The Port of Little Rock is able to provide year-round service, but the aging fleet infrastructure and outdated design limits the Port’s ability to fleet and switch the five barge berths available for transloading cargo. The new dolphin infrastructure will allow more efficient handling of line boats, building tows out, and organizing fleet barges so that standbys are eliminated. Most importantly, the dolphins will provide a safer and more secure mooring area.
CONSOLIDATED RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS GRANT AWARD: $5,569,373
On May 31, 2022, the Little Rock Port Authority was notified of a CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements) grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation/FRA.
The Port of Little Rock Freight Rail Capacity Improvement Project will add 11,215 feet of track in two critical locations, the Slackwater Harbor and the North Marshaling Yard, providing much-needed extra capacity for both river and rail operations, and increasing revenue to support operations at this public port. Project will also provide an Engine Maintenance Facility to house the railroad crew and the two locomotives operated by the Little Rock Port Authority Railroad (LRPARR). Among its many benefits, the project will facilitate freight movement by more environmentally friendly modes, improve safety for all users, reduce congestion on area roadways, and reduce demurrage and improve efficiency of operations for Port industries.