Bulk Traffic Surges at Indiana Ports

Bulk Traffic Surges at Indiana Ports

Bulk traffic surged late last year at the Ports of Indiana, helping to push its tonnage for the year up 7 percent to 7.2 million tons.

Traffic on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan surged in the fourth quarter, and higher coal, grain, salt and steel shipments led the way, said Rich Cooper, the statewide port authority’s CEO.

“Indiana’s three ports handled more cargo in the last quarter of 2009 than in any other quarter since 2006,” Cooper said.

“Hopefully, that’s a harbinger for 2010,” he said.

The Ports of Indiana operates two ports on the Ohio River, Indiana-Mount Vernon and Indiana-Jeffersonville, and the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan.

Salt imports reached an all-time high at Indiana-Jeffersonville, up 62 percent from 2008, and grain imports increased 18 percent.

Steel volume was six times greater than in 2008 at the Indiana-Mount Vernon, which saw a 20 percent increase in traffic.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor shipped nearly six times as much grain in 2009 and increased salt shipments 42 percent.

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com.