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Federally funded, the Illinois Competitive Freight Grant Program marks the first time in Illinois' history that funds have been specifically designated for freight projects.

This IDOT program, which required a 10-20% funding match on the part of the awardee, has awarded a total of $245 million in grants for 23 projects in program years 2018-2022. These projects include roadway reconstruction, grade separation, intermodal infrastructure, port improvements, technology deployment, truck parking, and interchange construction.

As the first project slated to finish construction in the state of Illinois, IDOT’s work to revitalize the Granite City Harbor general cargo dock at America’s Central Port is a testament to Illinois’ commitment to infrastructure and the beginning of many projects slated for the next six years.

Awarded $1,092,130 with a $275,000 match on the part of America’s Central Port, this project will increase last-mile efficiency, reduce freight truck bottlenecks within the Port and enhance the intermodal connectivity of the Granite City Harbor. The projected impact will increase daily freight traffic by 60%, where an estimated 1.5 additional barges will be loaded each day, removing 31,500 long-haul trucks from the road each year.

As a result of this much needed improvement to the dock surface and rail tracks, SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals, the barge and harbor operator at America’s Central Port, is making significant additional investments.

“We are excited to announce the purchase of a state of the art Sennebogen hydraulic crane that will vastly improve loading times of trucks and rail cars. In addition SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals LLC has approved the upgrade to the conveying system currently used to load trucks and railcars with a larger and faster conveying system. Together, America’s Central Port and SCF are looking to the future to serve the needs of our customers with better and more reliable services.”

- Brice Power, General Manager

SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals, LLC

America’s Central Port is strategically located in the heart of the U.S. on the Mississippi River, adjacent to an excellent freight highway system, with access to six of the North American Class-I Railroads. The Port’s Granite City Harbor is the proven hub within this unparalleled transportation network which helps facilitate the movement of over $1 billion dollars’ worth of freight annually.

This project awarded by IDOT consists of upgrading the general cargo dock, which plays an integral role in the overall movement of approximately 3.4 million tons of steel, general cargo and dry bulk fertilizer each year.

The complete scope of this project includes resurfacing the dock with an 18 inch reinforced concrete pavement that will meet the needs of intermodal cargo transfers, as well as enhancing the drainage system where cargo is transferred between barges, rail cars and trucks. In addition, approximately 450-ft of intermodal rail track will be upgraded to a larger rail section and a new crossing surface will be installed along the length of the dock.

These updates are critical to the continued success of America’s Central Port and the role the Southwest Illinois region plays in attracting business through competitive freight and superior logistics, with excellent rail, river, and road access.

Recognized by the official National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ), Ms. Robbie Williams, Foreign Trade Zone 31 Grantee Administrator, was presented the 2019 Catherine Durda Marketing Award for producing a fun and informative explainer video of the benefits of Foreign Trade Zone 31.

Recognized and voted on by other active Foreign Trade Zones around the United States, this award is not only a celebration among peers, but an achievement that helps increase exposure among the businesses registered as operators across the country.

Manufacturers like BMW, Phillips 66, and Dow Chemical, as well as distribution centers for brands like IKEA, Floor and Decor, and Columbia Sportswear all take advantage of the benefits of operating within a Foreign Trade Zone.

The video, as seen below, illustrates the cost saving and business advantages of becoming an operator within Foreign Trade Zone 31, and the ease of access available to businesses who import in the Southwest Illinois region.

Not too long ago, Jim Kirchherr from the Nine Network came out for a tour of the Port to produce a feature story for "Living St. Louis." Fascinated by the history behind the Chain of Rocks Canal, Jim wanted to see first hand how what started as a one-mile notch and staging area for barges transformed into a 1,200 acre industrial campus and growing hub for manufacturing and freight transportation. You can see the full segment below, or by visiting the Nine Network here:

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