October 2011

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (IL) Visits America’s Central Port

America’s Central Port – US Senator Dick Durbin, the Asst. US Senate Majority Leader and senior Senator from Illinois visited America’s Central Port on October 27, 2011.

The Senator was greeted by Port staff, including Port Executive Director Dennis Wilmsmeyer. Senator Durbin and his staff were briefed on America’s Central Port operations and facilities with a particular emphasis on the new South Harbor. The new harbor was a recipient of two federal TIGER transportation grants from the US Department of Transportation. According to Wilmsmeyer, “the Senator was impressed on how the Port had transformed the former Army base into a thriving commercial center. He was also very interested in how the new South Harbor fits into the region’s intermodal transit operations.”

Senator Durbin recieves briefing on America's Central Port operations

After the briefing the Senator and his staff were given a tour of the port’s north harbor, the residential areas and the planned south harbor facilities located adjacent to Abengoa’s Bio Energy plant.

America’s Central Port Hosts Trade Development Forum

Federal, State and regional trade officials meet to discuss trade development in southwestern Illinois

America’s Central Port –  Trade officials from state and federal agencies discussed new trade opportunities in Southwest Illinois and America’s Central port at a forum held on October 24. According to Dennis Wilmsmeyer, the Port’s Executive Director, “over 3 million tons of product passes through the port each year many of these commodities destined for Gulf of Mexico ports”. Officials with the State of Illinois Office of Trade and Investment told attendees that Illinois is the number on exporter in the midwest and ranks fourth in the country in overall exporting power. Illinois Agriculture officials touted the area’s strength in exporting agricultural products such as soybeans and other products from regional farms.

Frank Miles, the Port’s Business Development Manager and member of the region’s District Export Council said that “the Port presents a great advantage for the export industry that has not been fully realized. The new south harbor which is underway at the port presents a tremendous opportunity to the area. It will provide additional intermodal transit connections and allow firms like Abengoa Bio Energy, which is located at the port, access to international markets.”
FTZ Manager, Brad Reinhardt makes a point about FTZ 31 located at America’s Central Port

America’s Central Port also includes Foreign Trade Zone 31, one of 264 tax and duty free zones located in the United States. FTZ 31 operator, Brad Reinhardt was on hand to discuss the benefits of locating in the zone. Also present were officials with the various sub-zones of FTZ 31, Mid America Airport, Gateway Commerce Center and Conoco Phillips. Officials with the US Trade and Commercial Service were pleased with the participation and collaboration among the various trade groups in the region.

$8.5 Million TIGER Grant Agreement Signed for New South Harbor

U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Sign a $8.5 Million grant agreement for the new South Harbor at America's Central Port

U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Sign a $8.5 Million grant agreement for the new South Harbor at America’s Central Port

America’s Central Port today celebrated the signing of an $8.5 million TIGER grant that will assist in funding construction of the new South Harbor at the Port. The celebration included U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello and Chris Standlee with Abengoa Bioenergy Ethanol, along with leadership and tenants from America’s Central Port and dozens of other civic and business leaders from across the Metro East.

Grants for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program (TIGER Grants) are a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Last year, the port was successful in obtaining a $6 million grant for the first phase of the South Harbor project to install new levee relief wells and 9600 track feet of new main line rail that will serve the new harbor facility.

America's Central Port - South Harbor

Rendering of the new South Harbor at America’s Central Port

According to Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director of the Port District, “The new South Harbor is one step closer to reality. With the major federal, state and local funding in place, initial site work of a major new harbor south of Locks 27 on the Mississippi River is now underway. This new harbor, known as the South Harbor, is a key element of America’s Central Port intermodal transit gateway and will connect major rail lines and four interstate highways with a lock-free, public inland waterway of national and regional significance. This new harbor will create a new global maritime gateway, utilizing the marine highway of the Mississippi river to transport cargo from Chicago, Illinois and points north to the ports of the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.”

The Port’s role as a job-creating engine for the region was also touted by Congressman Costello. “There are more private sector jobs at America’s Central Port today than there were government jobs when it was the Army Support Center. This funding commitment will support important waterway infrastructure improvements at the Port which in turn will support future growth. These infrastructure investments create the environment where job creation happens.”

Secretary Lahood noted that these grant funds were awarded from projects that could not get started and were left over from previous grant rounds. He was glad to work with Congressman Costello to see to it that the funds were awarded for this project.

“We greatly appreciate the Maritime Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation’s confidence in this project as demonstrated through these grant awards,” notes Wilmsmeyer. “And we also want to thank Congressman Costello for his strong support of these grants and our port. We’re excited to have the Congressman and Secretary LaHood with us again today to get this project underway.” Both Lahood and Congressman Costello were on hand last year for the initial grant award.

The region’s newest strategic intermodal global gateway will provide a seamless connection between river, road and rail systems in the heart of America. It links major agricultural and industrial freight generators and population centers at a global gateway. Connecting these networks at the new South harbor creates the perfect union and cost-effective freight interchange, allowing the flow and economically competitive transfer of dry bulk, liquid products and general cargo.

The new South harbor will handle exports of agricultural products from Midwest growers and shippers, as well as handling imports of products for the heartland. Regionally, the project is also significant because it encourages shippers along the new marine inland river highways to use the new harbor, saving time and money. Increased efficiency and reduction of freight transportation costs, particularly for American agricultural dry bulk products, will enhance US export competitiveness creating lasting economic and environmental sustainability benefits to the Nation and its citizens.

*** Click here for additional event photos ***


Southern Illinois Trade Luncheon on November 3, 2011

The State of Illinois has recently announced a new grant program which is available to small and medium-sized exporters, the “State Trade and Export Promotion” (STEP) grant.  This grant program is designed to help Illinois businesses discover new markets and meet international trade partners.

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the Illinois Department of Trade and Investment are hosting a free lunch program to provide additional information about this new state grant.  Information will also be presented on the International Trade Center at SIUE’s “Gateway to Latin America” initiative; other local, state, and federal programs to assist Illinois businesses; key international market opportunities; export challenges; and successes from local exporters.

Southern Illinois Trade Luncheon
Exports: Before a Possibility, Today a Reality

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
(12pm – 1:00pm: Networking Luncheon)

Morris University Center (map) – Hickory/Hackberry Rooms

Representatives from the Illinois Office of Trade, U.S. Dept. of Commerce and local businesses will be present to share the latest on these new programs and how your business can be the first to receive these awards.

Registration is required due to limited space. To register, please fill out the attached form or visit http://www.siue.edu/business/itc/events.shtml to register on line.

The program is free and has been developed through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a service to Illinois small businesses.

[icon_link url=http://www.americascentralport.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Exports-Event-1103.pdf color=gray type=icon_paper]Printable Brochure (PDF)[/icon_link]

“Grow Your Own Job” Event a Success

Dennis Willmsmeyer Addresses Grow Your Own Business Event

Granite City, IL– To foster the growth and development of local small businesses, U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello, America’s Central Port and Southwestern Illinois College hosted a small business development event held on Monday Oct. 17, 2011.

The event, called Grow Your Own Job, was at Southwestern Illinois College Sam Wolf Granite City Campus, 4950 Maryville Road in Granite City, Ill.

Over 80 people showed up to hear representatives from federal, state and local agencies talk about the resources available to start a small business in southwestern Illinois. After hearing a short presentation from each representative, participants were invited to speak one on one about the services which area available from these agencies. According to Dennis Wilmsmeyer, the Executive Director at America’s Central Port, “we had a great turnout and a lot of people with questions as to how to get the information needed to start a business. Even after the presentations were done, people stayed later and talked to the resource providers.”

US SBA Representative Addresses Attendees at Grow Your Own Job Event

Frank Miles, the Port’s Business Development Manager, said that the Port will be sponsoring more of these in the future. The Port hosts southwestern Illinois’ only Small Business Incubator and their services were featured at this event.

A contact list for participating resource organizations is available for download (PDF).

Special $8.5 Million Grant Signing Presentation Set for Friday, October 28, 2011

U.S. Congressman Jerry F. Costello

Please join us in welcoming U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and U.S. Congressman Jerry F. Costello for a special presentation to the Tri-City Regional Port District of an $8.5 million TIGER Grant for the construction of the new South Harbor.

The special ceremony will be held on Friday, October 28, 2011 – 10:00 AM.  To reach the site of the event, enter the Port from the Route 3 and use the Bissell Street entrance.

For planning purposes, RSVPs are requested by October 24, 2011.  Please RSVP to Ms. Robbie Williams at rwilliams@americascentralport.com or 618-452-8440.

The New South Harbor at America’s Central Port

The TIGER Grant funds awarded to this project will assist in the construction of a major new harbor located south of Locks No. 27 on the Mississippi River.  This new facility will provide an intermodal connection linking rail, highway and waterway transportation.  By connecting these networks, the new South Harbor at America’s Central Port will create a cost-effective freight interchange for the transfer of dry bulk, liquid product and general cargo.  It will provide a major economic stimulus to the Southwestern Illinois Region. This award follows a previous TIGER grant of $6 million awarded to the Port in 2010 by Congressman Costello and Secretary LaHood.

For more information, view our Frequently Asked Questions:

[icon_link url=http://www.americascentralport.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/South-Harbor-FAQ.pdf color=gray type=icon_paper]South Harbor FAQ (PDF)[/icon_link]
[icon_link url=http://www.americascentralport.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Americas-Central-Port-FAQ.pdf color=gray type=icon_paper]America’s Central Port FAQ (PDF)[/icon_link]

America’s Central Port to Host Iron Pouring Demonstration

In conjunction with the Granite City Mayors office, City Government, and Local Industry, Six Mile Sculptureworks will be hosting their Second Annual Iron Casting Conference from October 7, through October 8, 2011. Art students, their professors, and sculptors from across the country are coming to Granite City to attend mold making workshops, and art exhibitions during that week.

Iron pouring demonstrations will occur on Friday October 7th from 1:00pm to 8:00pm and on Saturday, October 8th from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. The Steel Workers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) will be selling burgers and brats on Friday and Saturday. This event is free and open to the public. Iron tile molds, which are called scratch blocks, will be available for sale. The event will be held at the west end of Chicago Street in the Lincoln Place neighborhood at Graffiti Alley, located at Americas Central Port at the intersection of 1st street and A Street, one block south of Niedringhaus and Route 3.

Six Mile Sculptureworks is a program of Alfresco Productions, a not for profit-organization dedicated to creating, simulating and perpetuating the arts in Granite City IL. The organization is located in Granite City because of the unique relationship between Art and Industry within the community. Artists from around the country are coming to town to participate in the conference, they will bring blast furnaces that operate on the same principals as utilized by local industry. This is the organization’s second annual iron pour. Sponsors of the event includes, Amsted Rail, Becker Iron and Metal, HA International, American Colloidal, America’s Central Port, and United States Steel Granite City Works.