Shipments Rise Again at Ports of Indiana

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The location in Dearborn County could serve as the state's fourth port. (Image courtesy of the Ports of Indiana) The location in Dearborn County could serve as the state's fourth port. (Image courtesy of the Ports of Indiana)

More than 8.1 million tons of cargo were shipped at the Ports of Indiana during the first nine months of 2017, up 10 percent over the same period last year. Officials say the numbers, which represent the second-highest volume during the first three quarters in Ports history, are due mainly to increased coal, steel, fertilizer and ethanol shipments.

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon once again saw the largest increase in shipments, moving more than 4.5 million tons during the first three quarters, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. The organization says the port is on pace to exceed 6 million tons for the third consecutive year.

The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville shipped more than 1.6 million tons of cargo, which is 9 percent higher than the previous five-year average. The increase is due, in part, to strong steel processing in the auto and construction industries. Last month, the port celebrated the opening of South Korea-based POSCO's (NYSE: PKX) $21 million plant, which create up to 60 jobs.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor shipped two million tons during the first nine months of the year, marking the second-highest total for that time period as well as for the month of September. The number is an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2016 and was led by a nearly 49 percent increase in steel cargoes and 40 percent increase in oil shipments.

During the third quarter, the Ports of Indiana announced an $8 million purchase agreement for the former Tanners Creek coal power plant in Dearborn County, which allows for environmental and economic impact studies to begin to determine if the site would be suitable for a fourth port. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Ports of Indiana Vice President Jody Peacock said the location would help address the organization's need for growth.

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