• 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 St. Louis Metro Export Plan

    Jul 18, 2016

    On July 28, members of the St. Louis business community gathered at Washington University in St. Louis to celebrate the launch of the St. Louis Metro Export Plan. This joint venture between the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and World Trade Center St. Louis aims to transform the metropolitan area from a well-known industrial hub to an export powerhouse.  The export plan’s launch follows a year-long study by the Global Cities Initiative, a project conducted by JPMorgan Chase and the Brookings Institution, which encourages metropolitan areas to boost their economies through competitive international trade. The World Trade Center St. Louis led the application process for the region to be selected as one of the 28 metros in the project.

    St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay stated that “St. Louis is taking a leadership position” with the export plan and that the region is eager to compete in the global market. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger mentioned that small to medium businesses and startups are a particular focus of the export plan, capitalizing on the region’s innovative ecosystem.

    Along with the launch of the export plan, World Trade Center St. Louis Executive Director Tim Nowak announced the creation of the St. Louis Trade Commission, a task force housed in the World Trade Center St. Louis that is responsible for helping regional businesses and organizations find information about the exporting trade and opportunities in foreign markets. The St. Louis Regional Chamber will assist in funding the St. Louis Trade Commission for the next three years. The Chamber was also involved in advocating for St. Louis’ selection for the Global Cities Initiative last year.

    In addition, America’s Central Port Executive Director Dennis Wilmsmeyer, who also acted as the chair of the St. Louis Global Cities Steering Committee, announced the launch of the St. Louis Export Challenge. This competition is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses as well as startups to develop exports plans in the hopes of winning a $125,000 prize from JPMorgan Chase. Mayor Slay, County Executive Stenger, Mr. Nowak and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Shelia Sweeney unveiled the prize check to the audience at the event.

     Export Plan photo
    (From left to right) County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Shelia Sweeney, JPMorgan Chase Division Manager & Executive Director Craig Hortsmann, World Trade Center St. Louis Executive Director Tim Nowak and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay unveil the $125,000 prize check for the Accelerate St. Louis Export Challenge on June 28, 2016.

    To see the Metro St. Louis Export Plan, click here.

    To learn more about the St. Louis Export Challenge, click here.