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American Shipper

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor receives $9.85m FASTLANE grant

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao confirmed that the port will receive one of the 10 FASTLANE small project grants for 2017, which the port will use for barge, rail and truck infrastructure upgrades.

  The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor will receive a $9.85 million FASTLANE small project grant for 2017, as confirmed by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, the port announced on Tuesday. 
   The grant will help fund port expansion for barge, rail and truck infrastructure. The port will add a new 2.3-acre cargo terminal with multimodal connections for cargo transfers as well as the addition of 4.4 miles of track to the port’s existing 14-mile rail network. Two new rail yards will be constructed in order to house 165 rail cars, a 90-car unit train, and to provide rail car switching within the port, which will improve operating efficiencies for port companies, said the port.
   Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor will also make improvements to the west dock, including extending a retaining wall and paving a dock apron for an additional 1,200 feet of usable dock space. A new six-acre truck marshalling yard will be added to alleviate congestion on the roads, said the port.
   The port was informed by Secretary Chao in August of the DOT’s recommendation of approval for the discretionary grant, one of 10 FASTLANE small project grants for 2017. After a 60-day review period, the project was approved, bringing the port closer to fulfilling its $19.7 million port infrastructure expansion.
   U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who wrote a letter of support for the Ports of Indiana application, said, “I was proud to support the Ports of Indiana application, because this major federal grant will allow Burns Harbor to move forward with an expanded, increasingly-efficient operation. I’m looking forward to seeing these upgrades in action because we know it will bring more economic opportunities to the region and our state.”
   The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor has already handled over 8.1 million tons of cargo year-to-date, according to the port’s latest operational results. Ship and barge traffic was up nearly 20 percent for the first nine months of 2017, while total shipments were up nearly 11 percent, compared to the same time period last year, the port said. Major cargoes handled by the port include steel, coal, limestone, fertilizer and grain.
   “With these investments, companies using water to move cargo will have new options for their inbound raw materials, outbound finished products and transferring shipments between ships and barges, rail cars and trucks,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. “Strategic investments in port infrastructure produce a foundation for long-term growth, bring a positive economic impact to the area and support trade throughout the state.”