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Rail News: Intermodal

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor logs 2.6 million tons of cargo in 2016

The port reported a 'significant increase' in heavy-lift cargoes for 2016.
Photo – Ports of Indiana


The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor last year handled 2.6 million tons of cargo, marking the port's third highest tonnage in the past decade.

Major cargoes included steel, limestone, carbon products, grain and iron ore, port officials said in a press release. Grain shipments soared 57 percent, while coal shipments climbed 11 percent.

The port also reported a "significant increase" in heavy-lift cargoes for 2016. Shipments of large-dimensional cargoes rose 25 percent last year. Those cargoes included multiple large cranes and containers of crane components from Europe, storage tanks and wind tower components and blades.

Also in 2016, Ratner Steel Supply Co. announced it would add 100,000 more square feet to load and unload steel shipments at the port. The $8 million investment is expected to wrap up next month, port officials said.

In addition, the port invested nearly $2.5 million in infrastructure, including dredging and adding stabilization stones to two berths to increase the number of docks capable of handling full Seaway draft vessels. To improve multimodal connections, the port also replaced 2,000 feet of rail and rehabilitated three rail turnouts. The port is served by Norfolk Southern Railway.

"Fourth quarter shipments were especially strong for us and included two export ships of Indiana grain, raw materials for the steel industry as well as several large-dimensional cargoes," said Rick Heimann, director of Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. "Watching the Ratner Steel expansion take shape is especially encouraging because it further demonstrates that by using the port's strategic location and multimodal capabilities, a company can gain a competitive advantage and grow its business.

The 2016 shipping total rounds out the highest three-year total in the port's history: Since 2014, it has handled more than 8.6 million tons of cargo.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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