The Ports of Indiana handled 8.1 million tons of cargo in 2011, the largest annual tonnage since 2006. New ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) shipments combined with gains in limestone, salt and steel cargoes fueled a 5 percent increase in total shipments moving through Indiana's three ports.
"Despite continued economic uncertainties, this was the fourth consecutive year our ports experienced growth," said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. "Our 2011 shipments were nearly a million tons higher than the five year average. We've also seen a significant increase in capital investments by our port companies as they prepare for future growth. This is a good sign for things to come."
The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon handled its largest annual tonnage since 1994 and the third highest in the port's 36-year history. The port handled 4.7 million tons in 2011, an increase of 12 percent over 2010 figures. Ethanol-related shipments played the biggest role in the increase, with Aventine Renewable Energy operating in its first full year at the port and other ethanol producers taking advantage of the port's new rail-to-barge transloading facility. Ethanol shipments were five times the previous year's total and DDGs were 10 times greater than 2010.
"This past year represented a diversification of cargoes moving through the port," said Phil Wilzbacher, port director at the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon. "Coal and grain remain our highest volume commodities but with Aventine's ethanol facility reaching full production, DDGs and ethanol rocketed from minimal numbers in 2010 to the port's third and fourth highest volume cargoes in 2011."
In addition, Mount Vernon steel shipments were seven times greater than the 2010 total and the port experienced gains in shipments of coke (188%), fertilizer (6%) and soy products (4%). The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor moved 2 million tons of cargo in 2011, an increase of 10 percent over 2010 which was fueled by shipping increases in limestone (23%), steel (18%), fertilizer (61%), coal (44%) and salt (18%). The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville handled 1.4 million tons in 2011 with salt shipments increasing 17 percent over 2010 figures. There were also small increases in coal and steel cargoes.
The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority that operates a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. The mission of the Ports of Indiana is to develop and maintain a world-class port system that operates as an agile, strategically-driven, self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana's economy. More than 60 companies operate at Indiana's three ports. The Ports of Indiana manages approximately 2,600 acres of property along the Ohio River and Lake Michigan - and has 800 acres available for future development. For more information, visit www.portsofindiana.com