Updated: Jun 17, 2020

The United States has a versatile and expansive network of navigable waterways including: rivers, bays, channels, coasts, the Great Lakes, open-ocean routes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway System. In 2007, the Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration (MARAD), created the Marine Highway Program to help maintain and enhance "America's Marine Highway," as MARAD likes to call it.


America's Central Port (ACP) plays a critical role in leveraging the transportation opportunities that help attract U.S. and foreign direct investment to the Southwest Illinois and Greater St. Louis region.

In order to capture the full transportation potential of the Mississippi River, America’s Central Port has been pursuing container-on-barge (COB) for many years. With the completion of the Madison Harbor construction in 2016, the Port has been of the firm belief that COB can happen in the St. Louis area, and that the Madison Harbor is primed for container movement.


The Madison Harbor was constructed to handle bulk movement of grain from unit trains to barge as well as general cargoes, with the movement of containers kept in the forefront of the design of the facility. A dual access road system is one example of how the Port designed the facility with the trucking and container industry in mind. Two roads lead to the Madison Harbor general cargo dock: one bypasses a rail crossing, and the other has no overhead height restrictions. This unimpeded, redundant access reduces congestion and emissions, and greatly increases efficiencies of the Madison Harbor operator and truck/chassis drivers.

With the $1.26 million awarded from this Marine Highway grant, America's Central Port in conjunction with their operator SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals will be able to more efficiently ship and receive containerized goods by barge (COB), providing intermodal access to the Gulf of Mexico and cities like Chicago, New Orleans, and Memphis.


As a requirement for the Marine Highway grant, a 20.7% match of $331,200 will be shared between SCF and America's Central Port.

The specific components of the project include:

  • Purchase of a 275-ton crane to handle the loading of containers onto barges, as well as other commodities

  • Installation of up to 18 new fixed and pan/tilt/zoom cameras at the Madison Harbor to aid in the securing of containers and notification of trucks

  • Purchase of a container tilter for use in loading bulk commodities into containers. 

Plans are also in development regarding the laydown area for containers. While the Marine Highway grant will be used for handling equipment, on a separate project (independent of this grant application), SCF is improving the marshaling yard area in order to more efficiently handle containers as volumes grow.


Given time needed to purchase the new equipment and installation, container on barge transportation at America's Central Port is projected to be operational later this year in 2020.

151 views

The Class-III railroad at America's Central Port, Port Harbor Railroad Corp., unveiled and dedicated two locomotives honoring first responders and U.S. armed forces veterans.

GP40 No. 8955, a former Milwaukee Road unit, and former Canadian Pacific SD40-2 No. 5730 wear paint schemes designed by conductor/student engineer Dominic Montero. His father, St. Louis Fire Department Lieutenant Mario Montero, joined his son for the dedication.

“I’m very proud of my son, and it’s dear to my heart that he really thinks that highly of our first responders and veterans,” the elder Montero said.

Port Harbor's Dominic Montero, left, designed the paint schemes for the two locomotives. He was joined at the unveiling by his father, Mario, of the St. Louis Fire Department.
Port Harbor's Dominic Montero, left, designed the paint schemes for the two locomotives. He was joined at the unveiling by his father, Mario, of the St. Louis Fire Department.

Dominic Montero said the locomotives are “our little but still kind of our big way to say thanks to our first responders and our veterans and tell them how much we appreciate them. The cherry on top was seeing how thrilled my Dad was; he was the inspiration behind it. … I am excited that people can drive by and see the locomotives and know we are honoring them.”


The Port Harbor is a Class III railroad that interchanges with the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis and serves industries at America’s Central Port, a former Army supply base in Granite City. Several Port Harbor employees are current or former first responders or veterans.


CEO and Vice president of marketing and customer solutions Carl Yount was a Marine Corps staff sergeant who saw combat in Vietnam. “These are two beautiful locomotives,” Yount said. “We wanted to increase public awareness of our veterans’ service and sacrifices, and our first responders who serve us every day.’’


Dan Walford, a talented railroad fan and photographer, is a 24½-year Navy veteran who served as a flight officer on P3 Orion aircraft. “It’s nice to see that first responders and veterans are appreciated and these folks care enough to spend money showing that.”

The preparation and painting work were done by Quality Rail Service in Madison, Ill., about a mile away from the port. Master painter Kevin Scifres lead the repainting projects on both units, suggesting improvements. “These folks at Quality Rail most definitely live up to their name,’’ said Road Foreman of Engines Eddie Bauer.


Originally published by Steve Smedley on Trains.com.

13 views

FreightWeekSTL continued on May 19 with an engaging panel discussion featuring the directors of four ports in the bi-state St. Louis region and Kansas City, Mo., who enthusiastically affirmed it is their ability to work together and with various other entities that is key to current and future success. Returning for its third consecutive year with a virtual format that honors the current social distancing requirements, FreightWeekSTL’s latest session provided an update on the relationships between the participating ports, significant investments that are fueling growth and the surprisingly minimal impact of COVID-19 on port operations to date.


Opening the session, Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director of America’s Central Port (ACP), used his own port facility to reinforce the significance of all ports in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis.


“Like many others in the freight industry, we are classified as essential. We have access to six Class I railroads, two multimodal harbors, four interstate highways, and millions of square feet of warehouse space, plus manufacturing areas and developable sites,” said Wilmsmeyer. “With our transportation and logistical advantages, we have attracted 80-plus commercial tenants and our Harbor operators transport more than three million tons of goods valued at more than $1.1 Billion annually.”


He added they are well positioned to handle all products and when the demand for one product wanes, there is usually another right behind to fill the void; something that is helping to keep volumes as usual even as the pandemic results in necessary changes to protect workers and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


To view the full discussion, see the video below.


Freight Week STL 2020 continues online through May 22 and will feature a variety of additional engaging educational and collaborative sessions with industry experts and leaders in freight, logistics, and transportation. The week-long event being delivered by St. Louis Regional Freightway, The Waterways Journal and Bi-State Development is sponsored by Burns McDonnell and Lochmueller Group, with Arco, Contegra and CMT serving as supporting sponsors. To learn more and view each of sessions for FreightWeekSTL 2020, visit www.freightweekstl.com.

2 views