Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has proposed a $5 million budget addition aimed to expand the state's 14 ports along the Missouri River, according to an article by the St. Joseph News-Press (http://bit.ly/…).
Just over $970,000 of those funds would go to St. Joseph to build a 20,000 square-foot hoop barn for dry bulk storage to hold fertilizer, as well as dried distillers grains and grains such as wheat, soybeans and corn.
The St. Joseph Regional Port Authority is trying to build St. Joseph's port to become a hub to ship grain and DDG from the Midwest to Cuba. This growth would allow the port to do large fertilizer shipments by barge and use the same barges filled with grain or DDG for the return trip.
The Port Authority is already in the final stages of completing a $1.2 million capital improvement project that adds a conveyer system, a winch system, paving along a rail spur and a second truck sale.
The improvement will allow the port to be more user-friendly and to be fully intermodal -- handling both rail and truck freight as well.
Even though difficulties with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prevented the port from being open last year, Corps officials are guaranteeing a full spring navigation season with a nine-foot channel and hope for enough water by July 1 to continue into the fall.
In spite of the major improvements, experts predict it may take another year before a steady flow of barge traffic occurs at the St. Joseph port. The Port Authority Board is also hoping that Union Pacific will expand tracks at the port, as currently there is only enough track for about 10 freight cars at a time.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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