More cargo moved across the docks at the Ports of Indiana in September than any other month in the last three years. This follows eight months of strong shipping, which put the Hoosier port system 31% ahead of last year through August. After nearly 700,000 tons of cargo were handled in September, Ports of Indiana shipping is now up 36 percent versus the first three quarters of 2003. The ports have only moved more than 700,000 tons in a month twice since 1998. September was also a landmark month as the Ports of Indiana handled the 150-millionth ton in the statewide port authority's 30-plus year history.
Indiana has three public ports which opened on Lake Michigan in 1970 at Burns Harbor, and on the Ohio River in 1976 at Mount Vernon and 1985 at Jeffersonville. Through the first three quarters of 2004, the Ports of Indiana handled 5.1 million tons of cargo with all major commodities showing significant increases, including coal (up 75%), steel (up 42%), grain (up 23%), fertilizer (up 19%) and limestone (up 14%).
"We attribute this growth to the focus we've placed on increasing business with our existing customers and attracting new business opportunities," said Rich Cooper, chief operating officer for the Ports of Indiana. "Our customer base at all three ports represents some of the region's best companies and keenest business minds. They deserve the credit for their hard work and executing their business plans during a difficult and often confusing economic environment."
The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon (also know as Southwind Maritime Center) was up 55 percent through September with 2.4 million tons. The huge growth was primarily due to increases in coal (up 79%) and grain (up 42%) shipments as well as added steel cargoes brought on by the port's new alliance with Consolidated Terminals & Logistics Co. (CTLC). In September, the port alliance handled 29,000 tons of steel which nearly doubled the August year-to-date total and put the port 53 percent ahead of last year's steel tonnage record. Since the alliance began on Jan. 1, more steel has moved through the port than the combined total of every year since the port opened in 1976.
The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville (also know as Clark Maritime Center) has moved 1.25 million tons, up 34 percent through September.
Jeffersonville's steel tonnage was up 99 percent year to date, about 140,000 tons ahead of 2003. There were also significant increases in fertilizer (up 16%), salt (up 32%) and grain (up 27%). In addition to waterborne tonnage growth, Clark has seen tremendous increases in rail business. The port is now undergoing a rather extensive track expansion to accommodate new business.