Indiana Ports Sets Cargo Record in 2015

By Joseph R. Fonseca
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Courtesy Ports of Indiana

State's three ports handle 12 million tons for first time in 54-year history 

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 11, 2016) - The Ports of Indiana handled over 12.2 million tons of cargo in 2015, surpassing 2014's record volume by nearly 18 percent. This was the first time annual shipments exceeded 12 million tons in the port authority's 54-year history, and the total was more than 1.8 million tons more than the previous year's record.

Shipments of coal, steel, bulk commodities and ethanol-related products helped drive significant increases in annual cargo volumes at the three Ohio River and Lake Michigan ports. Coal volumes increased 69 percent while ethanol shipments more than doubled, and dried distillers grains (DDGs) increased 64 percent from 2014. There were also significant increases in shipments of steel (up 18 percent), cement (up 17 percent), soy products (up 4 percent) and limestone (up 12 percent).

"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."

•    On the Ohio River, the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon set a new annual shipping record in 2015 handling 6.6 million tons for the first time in its 40-year history. This was a 36 percent increase over 2014 and 30 percent higher than the previous record set in 1994. 
•     The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville, also on the Ohio River, set an annual shipping record for the second year in a row, handling 2.8 million tons of cargo, exceeding 2014's volume by 16 percent. Shipments of steel more than doubled the previous 2014 record, helped in part by record demand in the auto industry. Jeffersonville port companies supply components for all six of the top U.S. automakers.
•     On Lake Michigan, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor recorded its second highest cargo volume in over two decades, 2.8 million tons. Increased shipments of heavy-lift project cargoes helped drive the increase as the port received multiple shipments of beer fermentation tanks for regional breweries in Illinois and Michigan.

"While we savor the victories our port companies achieved in 2015, we are mindful of the challenges they continue to face with the pressure on fossil fuels and steel prices," said Cooper. "Despite the difficult economy, steel shipments at our ports still reached an all-time high in 2015 with many of our 28 steel companies processing steel for the record number of new cars and trucks sold by the U.S. auto industry last year."

The mission of the Ports of Indiana is to develop and maintain a world-class port system dedicated to growing Indiana's economy. The combined three ports contribute over $6.8 billion in total economic activity per year to regional economies and support over 52,000 total jobs.

Based on the economic successes of Indiana's ports, Governor Mike Pence, in his 2016 State of the State Address, called on the Ports of Indiana to explore building a fourth port in southeastern Indiana. Gov. Pence Quote: "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."
 

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