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Ports Of Indiana Enjoy Record Year; Progress On SEI Port Plan Continues

Posted On February 16, 2016

By Mike Perleberg

A fourth port by Ports of Indiana – like this one in Jeffersonville – is being planned in southeast Indiana. Photo by Ports of Indiana.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – It’s news that bodes well for the viability of a proposed new Ohio River port in southeast Indiana.

“Indiana’s ports have also been spectacular catalysts for job growth. That is why I have called upon the Ports of Indiana to vigorously explore the building of a fourth port in the far southeastern part of our state, which could unleash enormous economic investment throughout the southeast region of our state.” – Indiana Governor Mike Pence in his 2016 State of the State speech on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ports of Indiana says the three ports it oversees handled a record 12.2 million tons of cargo in 2015. It is the first time in Ports of Indiana’s 54-year history that the state’s three ports handled more than 12 million tons in coal, steel, bulk commodities, ethanol products, and other commodities.

It is also 1.8 million tons more than the previous record set in 2014.

“Our port companies and stevedores who attract cargo to our ports did a tremendous job in 2015,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. “They’ve become masterful in leveraging Indiana’s ports’ year-round maritime access to world markets as well as connections to multiple Class I railroads and major highways and interstates. Their business performance in this uncertain economy is highly commendable, particularly in the coal and steel sectors.”

Of the three current ports in the state, two are on the Ohio River in Mount Vernon and Jeffersonville. The third is on Lake Michigan at Burns Harbor. Combined, they generate $6.8 billion in total economic activity each year and support more than 52,000 jobs, according to Ports of Indiana.

Ports of Indiana is currently studying where to place a potential fourth port on the Ohio River in southeast Indiana. The ports are doing so well that Governor Mike Pence proposed in his 2016 State of the State address the so-called Fourth Port Plan.

State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) and others locally have been advocating for the new port in this area.

“It’s coming. The governor announced it,” Frye said during a February 6 interview with Eagle Country 99.3. “This is no little thing. This is huge for our area.”

HEAR EAGLE COUNTRY 99.3’s FEBRUARY 6 INTERVIEW WITH STATE REP. RANDY FRYE IN THE AUDIO PLAYER BELOW.

While a site for the port is still being studied by Ports of Indiana, there is speculation that Dearborn or Ohio county could be a location. Frye says the experts at Ports of Indiana are looking at where the port would have to be in order to be successful.

“I hope (an announcement on a location) will happen sooner than later. Things like this of this magnitude take a little time… …We have to make sure that we get it in the right spot and secure the land before we go any further. As soon as it happens, I’ll be calling.”

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