A new role for Midwestern inland ports

In the wake of trucker shortages and West Coast labor disputes earlier this year, shippers are beginning to realize the utility of Midwestern ports. To handle increased demand, these ports are working on expanding capacity. In late May, crews from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, for example, officially broke ground on a $17.7 million intermodal development project to restore service at an abandoned dock. Capacity-building projects are also underway at America's Central Port, the Ports of Indiana and the Port of Milwaukee. In his most recent feature for Progressive Railroading, freelance writer Michael Popke provides some highlights of these and other trends at Midwestern inland ports, as well as rail's impact at each one.

3 Replies

  • The St.Lawrence Seaway cannot handle the size of most current jumbo container ships, and smaller moth-balled ships that may be available would be less economical, which is why traffic to inland ports dried up in the first place. This seems like a case of wishful thinking.
  • In reply to Harvey Kahler:

    It's not just about the water connection; many inland ports have none. "Inland port" is a phrase with two meanings, which do not always overlap.
  • In reply to Harvey Kahler:

    These inland "ports" will serve as much as an interchange between connecting railroads, as well as intermodal (rail to truck) "ports". But, i suspect some anticipation for Great Lakes shipping is anticipated. The enlarged Panama Canal is doubling its fees for usage. Last winter the Northwest Passage was kept open all year ( a result of global warming) to shipping (Asian to East Coast ports). Containerization to and from these inland midwestern ports from those eastern ports whether by train or Great Lakes shipping is very much a reality and an emerging opportunity.
Related Content