Chesterton Tribune



Port of Indiana Burns Harbor has 3rd best year in its history in 2015

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The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled 2.8 million tons of cargo in 2015, the second highest tonnage in more than two decades.

After 2014's all-time record volume, 2015 marked only the third time in the port’s 45-year history that it handled 2.8 million or more tons.

Increased shipments of heavy-lift project cargoes (up 96 percent), carbon products (up 37 percent), limestone (up nearly 12 percent) and oils (up 72 percent) helped drive the increased volume.

“Our port continues to be a major inland hub for heavy-lift cargoes as our terminal operators handled nearly double the number of large dimensional shipments during 2015 over the previous year,” Port Director Rick Heimann said. “The port has received multiple shipments for regional breweries in recent years, including 36 beer fermentation tanks in 2015. Many of these are 20,000 gallon tanks or larger. The port's strategic location at the intersection of two of the world's busiest waterways and all of the nation's Class I rail lines provides significant competitive advantages for multimodal companies moving international cargo to and from the Midwest.”

Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Chicago, one of the largest craft breweries in the U.S., received 20 tanks from Europe in 2015, shipped through the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, after receiving 29 in 2014. The port also received 12 brewery tanks last year for Bells Brewery in Kalamazoo, Mich., and four tanks for Revolution Brewery in Chicago.

Steel shipments, meanwhile, a key driver for 2014's record, fell below that year's total but were well ahead of the five-year average.

Other significant cargoes handled by the port in 2015 included fertilizer, grain, and salt.

“Last year was a very good year for the port and the credit goes to our port companies who helped attract the cargoes,” Heimann said. “We continue to look for new opportunities to grow and diversify our product mix to withstand market swings and further improve our business. Nearly $2 million was invested in port infrastructure in 2015 to increase cargo-handling capacity and improve multimodal connections for our port companies.”

Infrastructure projects included construction of a new mooring space for barge fleeting, upgrades to multiple dock areas, replacement of over 1,300 feet of rail track, and rebuilding two railroad crossings.

Ocean ships and Great Lakes vessels aren’t the only users of the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor: river barges provide the port with a vital year-round link not only to more than 20 states through 12,000 miles of rivers but also to global markets by way of ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

Another 2015 highlight: September’s announcement of a new Great Lakes shipping partnership between Indiana and Quebec. Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie Christine St-Pierre met at the port to explain the new partnership designed to explore the development of increased maritime trade between the districts, identify new cargoes, and boost existing shipping volumes.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor also played host to a trade mission from Quebec in October and celebrated multiple bulk export shipments to Quebec ports in the fourth quarter.

And , in November, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, presented Gov. Mike Pence with the Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award in recognition of the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor's recent increase in international shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, which contributes in excess of $4.6 billion in total economic activity per year to the regional economy and supports over 36,000 total jobs, opened in 1970 and is operated by Ports of Indiana, a statewide port authority managing three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan.


Posted 2/5/2016




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