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New railroad ready in Lucedale

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:47 PM CST
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LUCEDALE, Miss. (WLOX) - A ceremonial driving of spikes marked the moment the Mississippi Export Railroad in Lucedale was ready to go Tuesday.

Henry Cochran, president of the George County Board of Supervisors, is the one seeing the plan through to the very end.

“George County’s open for business,” he told WLOX. “It feels great because building this track ain’t just like building a new one out through the country. It’s in the park. You’ve got businesses. You’ve got traffic you have to deal with.”

In the works for more than a year, it all came together through grants and did not cost taxpayers a dime.

“It felt real good to drive that spike today, to finish this project,” Cochran said.

Benefiting immediately right off the track is Enviva, the county’s newest agricultural manufacturing company and the world’s largest producer of wood pellets.

While providing more renewable energy to countries overseas, they’ll also be providing Lucedale with about 300 new jobs.

Nearing completion, the facility will soon export about 750,000 pellets per year to England, Europe and Japan from the Pascagoula coast.

“And they’ll use the Mississippi Export Railroad to move those down into the Port of Pascagoula where we built a terminal there that’ll house the pellets until they’re loaded onto the ships,” community relations manager Rick Frederick said.

The company is set to transport about 26 railcars full of pellets each day, and its first load should roll out early next year.

“It’s been a long journey. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve made great relationships here in George County and throughout the state,” Frederick said. “It’s great to have now finally be getting a step closer, having the railroad completed, to getting our pallets produced, loaded, shipped and headed out to sea to our customers overseas.”

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