Grant for regional port is good news for economy

Monday, December 17, 2018

Often lost amid the buzz of restaurant announcements, new hotels, sports facilities and building renovations is the economic activity at the Southeast Missouri Regional Port.

The port is becoming increasingly important in our regional commerce. Many of the trucks you see are headed there, where grain can be loaded on barges. Trains can unload their hauls there, sending materials down the Mississippi River and to the rest of the world.

A nearly $20 million grant was recently approved that will go a long way to the portís construction of two railroad loops and a terminal. The total needed for the project is $33 million. The port will still need to secure loans for the remainder of the funding.

As reported by Mark Bliss, work could begin in late 2019 or the first part of 2020. The project was proposed nearly two decades ago. It involves the construction of two loop tracks, each more than 2 miles long, and the terminal to handle trainload shipments. The terminal and installation of a conveyor system could allow the port to unload entire trains for more than 100 cars carrying a single product, according to Blissí reporting. The two loop tracks will allow one train to unload and another to wait for unloading.

The port handles an impressive amount of freight: 1 million barge tons of product annually, plus up to 400,000 tons of product that are shipped out by truck and rail.

The $20 million grant was a huge step in completing this project, which in the long run will help move product and freight in and out of Southeast Missouri. Thatís good news for everyone.

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