Chesterton Tribune

Port of Indiana marks 40th birthday with biggest shipment ever: Wind turbines

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The Port of Indiana is celebrating its 40th year in a big way: by handling the largest shipment of project cargo in the port’s history.

Business, community, and Great Lakes officials joined port management for a special celebration on Thursday commemorating the 40th anniversary of Indiana’s first port. During the ceremony, Port Director Peter Laman announced that the port is currently handling a project cargo shipment that is by far the largest ever to come through the Lake Michigan port.

The shipment of 134 complete turbine units was carried by 11 ships from Canada Steamship Lines and Flinter Shipping from various locations around the Great Lakes—and the final two ships were slated to offload their cargo at the port today.

The shipment was coordinated by Vectora Transportation for final destination in Bloomington, Ill. The windmills are being stored throughout the port on about 20 total acres. The shipments were unloaded by port terminal operator, Federal Marine Terminals, with a labor force from the International Longshoremen’s Association and the International Union of Operating Engineers.

This year, the port also handled its first outgoing shipment of wind equipment as two ships of turbines from the Acciona Windpower plant in Iowa are being exported through the port to Nova Scotia.

“It’s an exciting time around here right now,” Laman said. “This port is truly becoming the preferred destination for wind cargo shipments in and out of the Midwest because of our modern facilities, the central location and our extremely efficient terminal operations.”

While the Port of Indiana opened in 1970 and handled its first ship in May of that year, the road to establishing the state’s first port was a long one. In 1939, the Indiana Board of Public Harbors and Terminals was established to negotiate for land acquisition and construction of a public port. In 1957, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated $2 million for land acquisition for a port in Porter County. While the St. Lawrence Seaway officially opened up the Great Lakes to international ships in 1959, Indiana did not formally select a port site until 1961, and the groundbreaking did not take place until Oct. 10, 1966.

Since opening in 1970, Indiana’s first port has grown significantly and now contributes about $3.5 billion to the state economy. The port also generates more than 25,000 total jobs and $1.5 billion in personal income as well as $490 million in local purchases and $146 million in state and local taxes. The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority that operates a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan in Mount Vernon, Burns Harbor and Jeffersonville.

The Ports of Indiana manages approximately 2,600 acres, which are home to 60 companies and 800 acres of available industrial sites. For information, please visit


Posted 10/22/2010