Category: Press Releases

Mississippi River Mayors gather with U.S. Department of Transportation and Partners to announce Marine Highway Grants for the Waterway

For Immediate Release Contact:  Jim Gwinner, 314-791-2274 or

December 5, 2016 – St. Louis, MO – The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration announced today the awarding of Marine Highway Grants for the Mississippi River.

Though the Marine Highway Grant Program is national in scope, many of the grants have been awarded to projects on the Mississippi River signifying the incredible importance of the waterway to the nation.

Further, of the six projects that are receiving grant funds, five of them are for container-on-barge services.

“It is essential that we invest in integrated, multi-modal transportation systems that support the efficient movement of freight and people throughout this country,” says Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen.  “Our Nation’s extensive network of waterways, riverports and seaports provide an opportunity to help stimulate economic growth while reducing congestion on our national freight transportation system.”

Grantees include a planning grant for a partnership led by the Port of St. Louis, the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, the Inland River Port & Terminal Association, and the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association to build the container economy for the Mississippi River and work with freight forwarders to offer the Mississippi River as a container option.

According to U.S. DOT, population increase in our country will require nearly doubling domestic freight capacity to meet demand. The inland waterway system is a critical part of the solution.

“The Mayors of the Mississippi River have been working to build a sustainable economy for the waterway and the return of container movement on the River is big part of that effort,” said Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis.

America’s Central Port of Granite City, IL received a grant for a container-on-barge shuttle project; and the ports of Memphis, Baton Rouge and New Orleans were also part of an awarded project coordinated by St. Louis based SCF Marine.

“The commercial navigation economy on the Mississippi River generates almost $5 billion in annual revenue supporting nearly 20,000 jobs. Yet, of the more than 30 million containers that enter the U.S. every year, very few of them move on our inland waterway system – this is an opportunity,” said Chris Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul and Co-Chair of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative.

“The Port of New Orleans, is the gateway for the Mississippi River’s global trade.     Waterways and ports in my state support over 280,000 jobs and contribute $47.7 billion to Louisiana’s economy. It is our intention to build this economy up river all the way to Minnesota,” stated Mayor Belinda Constant, Mayor of Gretna, LA and Co-Chair of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative.


# # #

The Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative is comprised of 75 mayors and the association represents cities on the main stem Mississippi from Minnesota to Louisiana. More information can be found on our website at

Port District Diversifies Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 FOR INFO: Megan Dittman 618-452-8422

Granite City, IL:  The Board of Commissioners and staff members at America’s Central Port are excited to announce their newest tenant of the 1,200-acre business and industrial campus, Gateway Legacy Christian Academy (GLCA).

“This is a great opportunity for the Port District, and for the City of Granite City,” said Dr. Charles King, Jr., Port District Chairman. “America’s Central Port is more than just your average business industrial campus filled with warehousing and office buildings,” King said. “We constantly look for ways to expand, improve and diversify our uniquely designed campus, and the addition of Gateway Legacy Christian Academy does just that.”

GLCA offers a three-year diploma program to high school aged students, as well as a post- grad program. Their academic community was designed to create a space for students to grow, thrive, and excel spiritually, academically, socially, and physically.

“The heart of the Gateway Academy experience is creating a challenging academic environment that gives students the desires and skills to achieve their dreams at the highest level,” said Melissa Morrison, Head Master at GLCA. “We are extremely excited to bring the ever expanding program to America’s Central Port.”

The five-year lease agreement between the Port and GLCA will expand the footprint of the Port to now include multiple classrooms, dormitory, dining hall, kitchen and athletic fields.

“The campus at America’s Central Port will help further facilitate more students’ dreams from the metro east as well as the greater St. Louis area. GLCA is also the home each year to dozens of international students from all over the world. We look forward to introducing them, and their families, to the Granite City community,” said Morrison.




Minister of Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping Visits America’s Central Port District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 FOR INFO: Megan Dittman 618-452-8422
July 15, 2016

Delegation from India learns about U.S. Transportation System


Minister of Road Transport Highways and Shipping of India Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari and his staff learn about America’s Central Port District and the United States transportation system.

 Madison County, IL: U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration Office of Gateways Director Bill Paape, Minister of Road Transport Highways and Shipping of India  Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari,  Consulate General of India D.B. Bhati, and other government officials from India visited America’s Central Port on Thursday, July 14. The Minister is an equivalent position to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The visit from the Minister and his staff and advisors was part of a tour of U.S. maritime facilities in order to understand the infrastructure, capacities, and importance of waterway transportation in the United States. In 2015, highway fatalities in India were four times higher than in the United States. The officials are looking at roadway design, intelligent transportation systems, enforcement of no cell phone usage and creative ways to shift freight movement to other modes.

America’s Central Port Executive Director Dennis Wilmsmeyer and Port Engineer Bill Stahlman briefed the Minister and his staff about the history of the Port, its operations, and recent infrastructure investments before taking a tour of the Port’s developments. They discussed the many benefits of barge operations and how a viable river system can shift trucks from overcrowded roads to waterways.

During the briefing Wilmsmeyer talked about the transfer and conversion of the former Charles Melvin Price Support Center to the current development of the Port District and the infrastructure improvements that the Port has made to attract new businesses to the region since the transfer of the property.

Following the briefing, the group took a tour of the 1,200 acre Port facility, including a stop at the newly constructed Madison Harbor, and then continued north to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam #26.

Other stops on the U.S. tour by the delegation included Washington D.C., Port of New York/New Jersey, San Francisco, and the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach.




Korte Company Begins Warehouse Construction at America’s Central Port

For Immediate Release:
January 22, 2016
For additional information:
Todd Imming
The Korte Company
(618) 654-8611



Korte Co. begins construction on 100,000 square foot warehouse facility at America’s Central Port in Madison, IL.

The Korte Company will begin construction on a 100,000 square foot design-build warehouse facility within America’s Central Port, located in Madison, IL, just 5 miles north of downtown St. Louis. The tilt-up structure, located at the region’s only full-service, public intermodal port, will include warehouse and office space for a private tenant.

America’s Central Port’s business and industrial park currently contains over 1.7 million square feet of rail-served warehouse space, and approximately 70,000 square feet of office space with access to the Mississippi River, four interstate highways and six Class I railroads. This new development is the first phase of an industrial park expansion project at the Port that calls for up to 1 million square feet of new rail-served warehousing space.

America’s Central Port continues to expand economic growth for the region. With access to rail, water and trucking transportation options, the Port offers an ever growing number of benefits and services to not only the St. Louis Metro area, but the entire Midwestern Region.

According to Todd Korte, President and CEO of The Korte Company, “We are pleased to be partnered with America’s Central Port, whose positive economic impact continues to benefit the entire area.”

The Korte Company, founded in 1958, is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with offices in Highland, Illinois; Norman, Oklahoma; and, Las Vegas, Nevada. The company manages, on average, an excess of $200 million in annual construction volume.

The Korte Company’s project expertise includes building for federal, state and local government agencies as well as the design and construction of healthcare facilities, medical office buildings, warehouse/distribution centers, religious facilities, commercial buildings, schools, recreation centers and office complexes.



America’s Central Port Closes on Financing for Warehouse Project

January 22, 2016
More Information:
Megan Dittman


ACP-New-Warehouse-(small) (1)

Rendering of new 100,000 square foot warehouse facility being constructed at America’s Central Port





Madison County, IL:
Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director or America’s Central Port, announced today the Port has closed on financing for the first phase of its warehouse expansion project.

The Port’s development plan calls for the construction of up to 1 million square feet of new, rail-served manufacturing and warehousing space on the site of the former U.S. Army Charles Melvin Price Support Center.  Since the base’s closure in 2000, the Port has been redeveloping the property as an intermodal business and industrial park.  To date, the Port has attracted over $350 million in new development.  This latest project includes the construction of a 100,000 square foot warehouse for an expanding Port tenant and a 26,000 square foot bulk storage building to support the Port’s new, public harbor facility.

Project financing included an $8.5 million allocation of New Market Tax Credits from Heartland Regional Investment Fund.  U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation is the tax credit investor, and Pulaski Bank is the lender.  Financing for the deal closed on December 31, 2015, and construction is already underway on the first warehouse building.  Construction of the bulk storage facility is scheduled to start this spring.

“We are grateful for the investments made by Heartland Regional Investment Fund, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation and Pulaski Bank,” said Ben McCall, Senior Planner of America’s Central Port. “Their partnership was key to making this project a reality.  We’re excited to start the next phase of our redevelopment plan for the property and to be able to support the growth of a local business.”

Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said the warehouse expansion project is central to the expanding viability of the port.  “America’s Central Port is one of Madison County’s best resources for job creation and long-term economic prosperity.  The warehousing project will allow the port to meet the demands of businesses and developers looking to capitalize on the intermodal distribution capabilities at the port and at other locations in Madison County,” Dunstan stated.

America’s Central Port District manages a 1,200 acre intermodal business and industrial park in Madison and Granite City, Illinois, and has an annual economic impact of $282 million on Madison County. Its development territory is composed of over 200 square miles in western Madison and southern Jersey counties in Illinois.




America’s Central Port Dedicates South Harbor


Pictured from left to right in the above picture are: Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Christine Reed, Former Port Commissioner Joe Schuler, Port Commissioner and Venice Township Supervisor Andy Economy, Port Commissioner Charles King Jr., Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, Mayor of Madison and America’s Central Port Board Chairman John Hamm III, Executive Director of America’s Central Port Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Retired U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello, Senator William Haine, Representative Dan Beiser, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, Mayor of Alton and Port Commissioner Brant Walker, Mayor of Grafton and Port Commissioner Tom Thompson, Former Port Commissioner Melvin Wilmsmeyer, Tom Hewlett, Former Port District General Manager Velda Taylor, and Madison City Council Member Michael Vrabrec.

City of Madison, Ill., The Board of Commissioners and staff members at America’s Central Port welcomed state and local officials along with hundreds of business leaders for dedication of the South Harbor project today. The project constructed  9,600 feet of rail track, moved over one million cubic yards of dirt and used over 8,000 cubic yards of concrete to create a new rail/ truck/ barge terminal and general cargo barge dock.

“This is a great day for the City of Madison,” stated John Hamm III, Mayor of Madison, Illinois and current Board Chairman at America’s Central Port. “Today we celebrate the opportunities this project has created for the City of Madison, the Port District, and for the St. Louis region as a whole,” said Hamm.

The ceremony included speeches by Hamm, Madison County Board Chairman, Alan Dunstan, Illinois Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Christine Reed, and US Maritime Administrator, Paul “Chip” Jaenichen.

“For years Madison County and the Port District have partnered together to promote growth and transportation in the area,” said Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan. “With continued investments into our infrastructure, like those in the South Harbor, we are spurring future growth and job creation for Madison County.”

The new $50 million facility at America’s Central Port will increase the handling capabilities of Port operators to better accommodate the demands and needs of Midwest growers and shippers. Waterway shipping provides agricultural and industrial shippers a more economical rate structure that will allow them to better compete in the global market place.

The ceremony also highlighted a $2.3 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant for additional rail track work at the Port District that was announced on September 30th. The Port District also announced the additional construction of a new grain bin to complement the new grain terminal. Construction is expected to commence immediately.

The ceremony concluded with tours of the new conveyor system, a river tow boat and the City of Madison’s new fire boat.






Container on barge to Arrive at America’s Central Port



Madison County- On Friday, March 27th, Paducah McCracken County Riverport Authority loaded the first test container on an Ingram barge successfully. Ingram Barge Company announced plans to assess the viability of Intermodal River Transportation, utilizing the largest flat-top crane in North America owned by the Paducah Riverport Authority and Ingram’s towboats and barges.

It is due to coordinated efforts to pursuing containerized shipping on the Mississippi River of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Ingram Barge, America’s Central Port and other private and public entities that this service is advancing.

Many achievements have been made through cooperation and collaboration to protect, sustain, and enhance the economic vitality of the Main Stem Mississippi River. The first arrival of the container barge will have a positive impact and provide an introduction of the service to the shipping community to and from the St. Louis region. The barge is scheduled to arrive at America’s Central Port Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 11:45 a.m. where there will be a press event held to mark this achievement.

Invitees include: Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, Missouri, Mayor Tom Thompson of Grafton, Illinois, State Senators and Representatives and Congressional Delegation, Ingram Barge, Col. Anthony Mitchell from the St. Louis District US Army Corps of Engineers, Bill Paape, Director of the Inland Waterways Gateway Office, U.S. Maritime Administration, Board members of America’s Central Port and numerous members of the national trade association:  Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals (IRPT).


ABOUT AMERICA’S CENTRAL PORT– Originally created in 1959, America’s Central Port is a special-purpose unit of local government. The Port’s activities include its operators loading or unloading over $1.1 billion of goods each year; rail and truck bulk transfer facilities for agricultural products, steel, fertilizer and asphalt; foreign trade zone operations; commercial warehousing; industrial property development; office space leasing; recreational facilities and residential apartments.  The Port receives no general tax revenue and operates self-sufficiently through its leases and operations.

 ABOUT MISSISSIPPI RIVER, CITIES AND TOWNS INITIATIVE: The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) was created to provide an influential voice for the Mississippi River, dramatically increasing demand for effective river protection, restoration, and management in Washington, DC. It addresses matters of mutual concern, including:  river water quality and habitat restoration, flooding and floodplain issues, river-focused recreation, sustainable economies, and celebration of the River culture and history.

 ABOUT INGRAM MARINE GROUP: Ingram Marine Group encompasses Ingram’s operating units involved in transporting bulk commodities on America’s inland waterways, terminaling bulk commodities, and delivering fuel and supplies to the towing industry. The largest of the operating units is Ingram Barge Company, which transports coal, aggregates, grain, fertilizer, ores, alloys, steel and chemicals with a fleet of 140 towboats and 5000 barges. Other units include Custom Fuel Services (diesel fuel and supplies) and Triangle Fleet (ship anchorage in Louisiana).


ABOUT INLAND RIVERS, PORTS AND TERMINALS, INC.: Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals, Inc. is a trade association for the nation’s inland waterway, port, and terminal professionals. Our goal is to provide a platform for inland river port and terminal professionals to improve their businesses and to inform policy makers on the needs and economic impacts of our industry. The mission of IRPT is to be a resource for inland river ports, terminals, and river-borne transportation services and to promote the value of the inland river transportation system to users and policymakers.

America’s Central Port Hosts Career Day for Area Students

IDOT Joins Forces with Metro East Schools, Introduces Middle and High School Students to Careers in Transportation

Career Day Welcomes Hundreds of Area Students, Provides Fun, Educational Opportunity

GRANITE CITY – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today hosted hundreds of middle and high school students for the agency’s eighth Career Day event at America’s Central Port in Granite City. The event is a workforce development tool that introduces students, through hands-on activities and heavy equipment demonstrations, to careers in the transportation industry.

“Career Day is an exciting opportunity for IDOT employees, schools and industry partners to inform, inspire and expose students to the many rewarding careers in transportation,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said. “We want students to know that through education and hard work, they may someday be able to help us build strong roads and bridges, improve our railways and fly our planes.”

Approximately 300 middle and high school students from 14 different schools were in attendance for today’s event. Students were exposed to more than 40 exhibits, which includes hands-on activities and several pieces of heavy equipment on display used to build and maintain Illinois’ multimodal transportation system.

The careers highlighted include civil engineering, engineering technology, safety engineering, surveying and construction trades. In addition to hearing about specific career opportunities, students also were provided with information about construction careers and IDOT safety campaigns. Career Day attendees also received a hard hat and safety glasses, as well as other items, provided by businesses in the transportation field.

Vice President Biden to Visit America’s Central Port on Wed., Feb. 19th

America's Central Port - South Harbor

America’s Central Port’s new South Harbor is being funded, in part, by a $14.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) I Grant

February 14, 2014

Vice President Biden to Travel to Granite City, Illinois

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, February 19th, Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Granite City, Illinois, to visit America’s Central Port. The Vice President’s visit will mark the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and highlight the need for continued investment in infrastructure to create jobs and grow our economy.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will also attend. Additional details about the Vice President’s trip are forthcoming.


America’s Central Port Releases Report About Economic Impact on Madison County

America’s Central Port announced today the completion and release of research data quantifying the economic impact of the Port on Madison County. The impact analysis was completed by RSN Economic Group, Inc.

According to Dennis Wilmsmeyer, the Port’s Executive Director, “growth of the Port District continues to be significant to Madison County with a $282 million annual economic impact and over 1450 jobs either directly or indirectly supported by the Port and its tenants. This represents an increase of 36% in the Port’s overall economic impact to the county since 2007. Additionally, over $70 million in labor income results from the Port’s tenants, residential facilities and construction. Wilmsmeyer said that the Port’s impact on state and local taxes are also significant, totaling nearly $10 million. The Port’s tenants provide over $2.2 million in property tax revenues for local schools and the communities of Granite City, Madison and Venice.

The Port’s activities include its operators loading or unloading 2,500 barges each year; rail and truck bulk transfers for agricultural products, steel, fertilizer, and asphalt; foreign trade zone operations; commercial warehousing; industrial property development; office space leasing; recreational facilities and residential apartments, among other activities. The 2.5 million tons of commodities that pass through the Port’s operators are valued at over $1.1 billion annually, contributing to the nation’s second busiest inland port with the Port of Metropolitan St. Louis.

In 2002, the Tri City Regional Port District began re-development of the former US Army Charles Melvin Price Support Center. Now known as America’s Central Port, the facility has over 70 tenants and operating companies directly employing over 750 people on its 1200 acre property in Southwestern Madison County. Major tenants include: Abengoa Bioenergy, Arizon Industries, Mattingly Lumber and the US Army Reserve.

 “The $282 million overall economic impact of the America’s Central Port places it among the major engines of economic development in the County. Other major contributors are Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and St. Louis Regional Airport,” said Dr. John C. Navin from RSN Economic Group.

Wilmsmeyer said “that the future holds even more opportunities for the Port with the development of the new South Harbor. When completed, it will serve as the region’s newest global gateway for Illinois products and agriculture”.

Economic Impact Brochure 2013 (Web)

Download the full report (PDF, 1.18MB)


The RSN Economic Group is led by Dr. John C. Navin, Timothy S. Sullivan and Warren Richards, faculty members in the Department of Economics and Finance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. RSN has done extensive research on measuring economic impacts on a variety of businesses in the region, including the Conoco Phillips Refinery.