State's three ports handle 10 million tons for first time in history
The Ports of Indiana handled over 10.4 million tons of cargo in 2014, up nearly 26 percent from the previous year. This was the first time annual shipments exceeded 10 million tons in the port authority's 53-year history. The 2014 total was nearly 800,000 tons higher than the previous record set in 1994.
Shipments of coal, agricultural products
and steel helped drive significant increases in annual cargo volumes at the state's ports. Steel shipments more than doubled while grain shipments were up nearly 72 percent from 2013. Ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) increased 54 percent and 51 percent, respectively, while salt shipments nearly tripled over the previous year.
"These record numbers are a tribute to the world-class companies at our ports and the importance of maritime transportation to the regional economy," said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper
. "Indiana's ports are well connected to the country's two largest inland waterways, giving our business partners access to world markets through the Great Lakes and Ohio-Mississippi river systems to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. With multimodal connections to multiple Class I railroads, superior short-line railroad services and access to major highways and interstates, the ports continue to provide our customers with a sustainable competitive edge in our ever-expanding global economy."
During the year, the Ports of Indiana set a new shipping record in each respective quarter. The fourth quarter was the highest quarter ever with nearly 3.4 million tons of cargo. December's 1.3 million tons was also 257,000 tons more than the previous highest single-month volume set in October 1993.
On Lake Michigan, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor recorded its highest cargo volume since the port opened in 1970. Shipments were up 30 percent from 2013. The port handled over 500 barges in 2014, a 25 percent increase from 2013 while ocean vessels at the port were up 35 percent.
On the Ohio River, the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville exceeded two million tons for the first time in its 29-year history. The port shipped 2.4 million tons, up 48 percent from 2013, beating the previous record year 2006 by 464,000 tons.
The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon recorded the highest fourth-quarter shipments by any port in Ports of Indiana history. The port shipped 4.85 million tons in 2014, up 17 percent from 2013, the highest annual total since 1994.
The Ports of Indiana also welcomed two new port companies in 2014. Valero Renewable Fuels Co., a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp., the 10th largest Fortune 500 Company in the U.S., acquired an ethanol plant at the Mount Vernon port. Mill Steel Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., opened a new flat-rolled steel service center on the "steel campus" at the Jeffersonville port. Several other companies also invested millions of dollars in facility expansions at the ports in 2014.
"The growth of Indiana's ports is the result of continued investment into facilities and infrastructure by the port and our business partners," Cooper said. "Our board has approved over $42 million in capital investments in the past six years to help the Ports of Indiana develop
one of the leading inland port systems in North America and it is gratifying to see those investments are paying off for Indiana."