• 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
  • St. Louis Transportation is the Gateway to the Heartland

    Dec 09, 2014
    The St. Louis region has long been recognized as the key to the heartland, a leading center for trade and distribution. However, it is the things we see every day that are the reason why. The roads we drive on, the river we glance at, the airplanes that fly overhead and the railroads that we don’t really see unless a train is crossing in front of us. These are the things that are essential to our region.

    St. Louis transportation and other regional assets are a globally-connected distribution network that is a key to regional economic development. St. Louis can uniquely claim unobstructed access to roads, river, rail and air, in all directions. We can also boast about our unique strategic location, and an infrastructure and business climate well suited for manufacturing, logistics and supply chain solutions. Add to that an educated workforce, competitive cost-of-living, and ample commercial real estate that is connected to various modes of transportation, and you begin to see the reason that companies continue to expand in the region, and new companies move to St. Louis.

    Consider that a truck leaving St. Louis can move goods to Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland, Minneapolis/St. Paul or New Orleans, within one day. That means 30 percent of the US population is within a one-day truck drive from St. Louis. If you prefer moving goods via air, the entire continental US is reachable within four hours.

    RiverEdgeOr consider that goods travelling via river from St. Louis have easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, and from there, the world. For goods coming into the US, St. Louis is the northern-most ice free port, and there are no locks and dams between the Gulf and us. And from St. Louis, you can put goods on any of the six Class I railroads that come through St. Louis (there are only seven in the US) and move efficiently move goods anywhere in the US.

    When compared to locations such as Chicago, there is significantly less traffic congestion, ensuring a rapid turnaround of freight when moving goods in and out of St. Louis, wherever its final destination lies.

    So next time you see a truck, or a train, or a barge, or a cargo plane, take just a moment to reflect on their contribution to our local economy, our economic development, the jobs they create and the companies they attract. The combination of St. Louis’ transportation, education and living environment are the key to the heartland. Not to mention the gateway to the world.

    Check out the St. Louis Gateway website for more information on St. Louis transportation, regional assets and economic development.

    tags: transportationairriverrailroad