Ports of Indiana Hit All-Time Shipping Record

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The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon saw an individual shipping record in 2015 as well. The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon saw an individual shipping record in 2015 as well.

The state’s port system is reporting its biggest year on record. Ports of Indiana officials say the three ports handled more than 12.2 million tons of cargo last year, the highest total in the 54-year history of the port system.

The total was more than 1.8 million tons more than 2014's record. Officials say shipments of coal, steel, bulk commodities and ethanol-related products helped drive the record year. Shipments of cement, soy products and limestone were also up.

"Our port companies and stevedores who attract cargo to our ports did a tremendous job in 2015," said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. "They've become masterful in leveraging Indiana's ports' year-round maritime access to world markets as well as connections to multiple Class I railroads and major highways and interstates. Their business performance in this uncertain economy is highly commendable, particularly in the coal and steel sectors."

Both the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon and the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville set annual shipping records on their own. The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor recorded its second-highest cargo volume in over 20 years.

"While we savor the victories our port companies achieved in 2015, we are mindful of the challenges they continue to face with the pressure on fossil fuels and steel prices," said Cooper. "Despite the difficult economy, steel shipments at our ports still reached an all-time high in 2015 with many of our 28 steel companies processing steel for the record number of new cars and trucks sold by the U.S. auto industry last year."

The record year was capped off by a surprise from Governor Mike Pence. In his State of the State address last month, Pence called on the Ports of Indiana to vigorously explore the possibility of a fourth state port.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Cooper said he was supportive of Pence's call, saying a new port would be a "welcome addition" as long as it doesn't siphon activity from the other three.

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