• The Natural Highways of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers Will Play An Even Bigger Role for Transportation of Goods in the Future

    Dec 08, 2016
    All Things River 130711On Monday, December 5, U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen visited the St. Louis Regional Chamber to announce six Marine Highway Grants. Partners from the Inland River Port & Terminal Association, the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association and the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative were also on hand for the announcement. 

    It is estimated that population increases in the United States over the next 30 years will require nearly doubling of the domestic freight capacity in the United States. This will exceed the capacity of the traditional modes of goods transports such as rail and highway and would require tremendous infrastructure investments to support. One of the potential economic solutions to this dramatic transportation demand increase is utilizing the inland waterway systems already in existence. Utilizing the various waterways but especially the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers that converge in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, provides tremendous potential economic advantages for the region and relief for future further congested infrastructure nationally. Currently the navigation economy on the Mississippi River generates $5 billion in annual revenues and supports approximately 20,000 jobs. 

    In support of the strategic planning required to meet this increased demand by utilizing “container- on- barges” services, a $713,000 grant was awarded to America’s Central Port located in Granite City, Illinois. The Illinois Container on Barge Shuttle is an 18-month demonstration project to provide shuttle service for agricultural customers moving containerized exports between southern and northern Illinois to access the Union Pacific and BNSF rail ramps. The shuttle service will operate on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers between Channahon and Granite City, Ill., with an option to extend container-on-barge service to the Gulf of Mexico ports in concert with related Marine Highway Designation.

    Currently there are over 30 million containers that enter the U.S. every year, but there are very few of them that move on the inland waterway system. An efficient container-on-barge shipping process would certainly help to change that. These initial grants are some of the first steps in the development of that process ultimately leading to as efficient and cost effective process as possible. Increased barge traffic on the natural resources of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers is not only a very good, viable option to additional infrastructure, it’s a great economic growth stimulator for the St. Louis Region. 
    To read more about the grants awarded for Marine Highway projects, visit the Maritime Administration website.

    Joe Reagan U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen
  • The Importance of Coming to the Table

    Oct 21, 2014
    Earlier today, Governor Nixon announced the formation of an independent commission designed to bring all of those involved in the events in Ferguson – activists, government, business and civic leaders and concerned residents – to the table and to make recommendations based on the discussions.  His announcement is a major step in the right direction.

    The best way to resolve the issues of race, socio-economics, and failed public policies affecting our community is with open and honest dialogue between the citizens demanding change and the elected officials and government representatives who have a responsibility to bring about that change.

    These issues have divided us and now we have a crisis of violence in our community resulting in young people killed, deep mistrust spreading and community hurt abounding.  Some of our families are mourning the loss of their children, others are afraid of what might happen to their own.  The conflict increases stress and strain on our police officers and their families who worry if they will return home at the end of their shift.

    People in our community are protesting for change because the underlying problems that caused this unrest are real.  We should listen. Their message should be heard.  Our response to this crisis can make St. Louis a national model of how to successfully address issues of equality and inclusion.   We can show that civil rights do not just belong to a period in the past, but are constantly relevant in our city, our region and our nation.

    Our elected leaders understand the importance of bringing everyone to the table and then taking action.  Mayor Slay recently called for an inclusive, permanent entity to facilitate a dialogue between government, civil society and the business community.  Just this week he emphasized that government must listen, and then take action to accomplish change.  Governor Nixon’s Ferguson Commission is specifically charged with studying the events surrounding Ferguson, reaching out to experts, and making specific recommendations.  I urge all sides to respond to the Governor’s invitation to participate in the discussion.

    If we are serious about change, being a positive example, and improving the lives of all who live here, we must come to the table in dialogue.  This conversation must take place between the people who have raised their voices in meaningful protest and the local, state and federal leaders who represent and serve our community.  Every effort should be made to be fully-inclusive and ensure all options are considered.  We must figure out what we can learn together and understand how this community tragedy became a world event.

    The process will be difficult, as it forces us to examine uncomfortable truths about racial disparities, access to jobs, education, justice, policing and violence.   But these discussions need to begin now.  Failure to work together – individuals across neighborhoods, government, employers, educators and activists – will mean we are choosing an unacceptable status quo that will be bad for all of us.

    Ferguson Business

    Ferguson Business
    tags: fergusonbusinesscivic leadersinclusionst. louis | nixon