America’s Central Port has been diligently working on securing the necessary funds to construct its proposed South Harbor, which is located just south of Locks No. 27 on the Mississippi River. The benefits of the new harbor significantly outweigh the costs of construction by at least a 7:1 ratio. The new harbor is a key element of an overall project which was a part of the Port’s TIGER Grant application. For the first time, six Class I railroads and four interstate highways with a lock-free, public inland waterway environment, will come together in concert to create a multi-modal gateway of both national and regional significance.
For a national perspective, the South Harbor will create a new maritime global gateway, utilizing the marine highway opportunity on the Mississippi River, to transport cargo from Chicago, Illinois, and points north, to the ports of the Gulf of Mexico and beyond to foreign ports. The ease of connecting rail, river and road at one location, coupled with the significant financial savings derived from the new harbor, will promote exports, as called for by the President’s National Export Initiative. The new harbor will handle exports of agricultural products from mid-west growers and shippers as well as imports of products for the heartland. Regionally, the project is significant because it encourages shippers along the new Marine Highway and inland to use the new harbor, saving both time and money.
The new South Harbor also promotes the President’s vision of green ports and sustainability, as reflected in E.O. 13514. Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from rail and highways are significantly reduced by promoting the use of the new maritime gateway. In addition, an existing major tenant of America’s Central Port will increase its footprint at the Port by using the new harbor and promoting its vision of environmental sustainability through the manufacture and distribution of cellulosic ethanol and reducing the company’s GHG emissions.
Finally, the new South Harbor will create long-term, competitive new jobs, repair a major existing impediment to the free flow of commerce along the Mississippi River, and enable U.S. shippers to compete with foreign suppliers. Additionally, the new South Harbor will create a new livable community with jobs for the surrounding economically distressed area, protect the environment by reducing GHG emissions and allow provide for a stronger partnership between the Port and its regional, local, state and a wide range of private partners, whom are all working towards providing economic growth within the Metropolitan St. Louis region.