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Last year, the Ports of Indiana handled 8.1 million tons of cargo, the largest annual tonnage registered by the organization’s three ports since 2006.
New ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) shipments, combined with gains in limestone, salt and steel cargoes, fueled a 5 percent increase in total tonnage, Ports of Indiana officials said in a prepared statement.
“Despite continued economic uncertainties, this was the fourth consecutive year our ports experienced growth," said Ports of Indiana Chief Executive Officer Rich Cooper. “Our 2011 shipments were nearly a million tons higher than the five year average.”
The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon handled 4.7 million tons, up 12 percent year over year and the largest annual tonnage since 1994, as well as the third-largest in the port's 36-year history. Aventine Renewable Energy completed its first full year of operations at the port and other ethanol producers took advantage of the port's new rail-to-barge transloading facility, boosting ethanol shipments to five times 2010’s total, Ports of Indiana officials said.
In addition, the port’s steel shipments were seven times greater than in 2010, and shipments increased for coke (188 percent), fertilizer (6 percent) and soy products (4 percent).
The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled 2 million tons of cargo, up 10 percent. The increase was driven by gains in fertilizers (61 percent), coal (44 percent), limestone (23 percent), steel (18 percent) and salt (18 percent).
The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville handled 1.4 million tons, up 17 percent, primarily because of small increases in coal and steel cargoes.