By the time the organization celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1984, the Port had become recognized as a leading Port in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and throughout the US Inland Waterway System. In the prior year, operators at the Port handled 2.5 million tons of cargo; more tonnage than any public port in the State of Illinois. The product had an estimated value of over $600 million. That year, it handled nearly 25,000 rail cars, 12,000 trucks, and nearly 1,500 barges, with approximately 70 percent of the product going to world export markets.
Tenants and operators of the Port in 1984 included: Apex Oil Company, providing public liquid terminal services and storage; Art’s Fleeting Service, providing tow boat harbor service and barge fleeting; Bulk Service, handling public dry bulk material terminal services; Granite City Steel; Granite City Terminal, with public general cargo, bulk material and storage facilities; International Minerals & Chemicals, liquid and dry fertilizer storage and sales; I.S. Joseph Company, Inc., an agricultural by-product pelletizing company; Curtis Detective Agency, providing on-site security services; Norfolk and Southern Railroad, handling rail services; and Fox Industries, the Foreign Trade Zone operator.
The Port and its tenants directly employed 130 people on site while the Port operated with a staff of nine.
To commemorate the Port’s 25th Anniversary, a community celebration was held on August 25, 1984. The event included a public open house, drawings and prizes, historic steam train, trucks and harbor tours. That same year, the Port sponsored a party-barge ride and river tour for area officials, tenants, operators and guests as a way to promote the Port and the barge industry.
In 1984, the dry bulk material facility was expanded by construction of a hydraulic truck receiving station, runaround rail track, surge storage tank and conveyor at a cost of $1.23 million. The improvements were paid for using funds from the issuance of Revenue Bonds and an $895,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration.
The Capital Development Board facility, or Red Dock as it is called, continues to be a major terminal for the outbound transfer of dry bulk material from rail or truck to barge with tonnage each year exceeding one million tons since its construction in 1977.
Improvements to the General Cargo Dock and construction of a dockside warehouse for $560,000 were also completed using Revenue Bonds at this time. These facilities were then leased to the public terminal operator under an agreement with the Port.