Port Commission supports Great Lakes study
Northwest Indiana Times
PORTAGE -- The Indiana Port Commission voted unanimously
Tuesday to urge the Indiana congressional delegation support
funding a $20 million navigation system study to
deepen portions of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.
The review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
would be done to allow larger ships to come into the waterway.
At this time, almost none of the world's ocean-going vessels
can pass through the aged system of locks, channels and
ports on the Great Lakes.
The International Port at Burns Harbor is a leader among
Great Lakes ports, said William Friedman, executive director
of the Ports of Indiana, so the study is important.
"Improving the seaway is vital to the future of our port
system and to the future of Indiana businesses,'' Friedman
said, noting it is an economic necessity.
The Port of Indiana's economic activities generate more
than 3,400 total jobs, $144 million in annual wages
and an economic impact of $585 million. And so far,
tonnage figures have broken the 2001 record.
Tonnage through September was up overall 15 percent over
the same period last year at all three Indiana ports.
Jody Peacock, communications manager, said Burns Harbor
tonnage rose 18 percent year-to-year.
Gains at Burns Harbor, which annually ships more than
2 million tons of cargo from its 13 working docks, were
reflected in steel, up 208,000 tons; grain, up 118,000
tons; and limestone, up 66,000 tons through September
over the same period in 2001. Pot ash/coke tonnage, though,
dropped around 25,000 tons.
"It's basically been a pretty good year with everything
that's gone on with the economy,'' Peacock said. "Certainly
it's been a poor growing season for grain, so this is
a good sign for Burns Harbor."
The navigation review study, approved by Congress, awaits
its first year of funding in 2003. The Corps, which hopes
to contribute $10 million over five years toward
the study, is seeking the other $10 million from
Canada. One study item includes construction of a 35-foot
deep ship channel from Montreal to Duluth, Minn.
In other action, the authority awarded a $180,268
contract to Tonn & Blank to build a 2,000-square-foot
seaman's center featuring a multipurpose room, kitchen
The single-story center, will serve as a home-away-from-home
for the seamen -- some of whom hail from Third World countries.