Indiana Ranked Second Among Great Lakes Ports

By GLSR Staff  |  Latest News, Ports & Terminals
For the first time ever, Indiana ports rank first among inland ports and second among Great Lakes ports for cargo shipments. Recent changes to federal port rankings caused Indiana to move from having multiple small port districts and many shipments not counted to having two top-ranked ports on the inland rivers and Great Lakes.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) most recent rankings, the Southern Indiana Port District handled 24.2 million tons in 2021, which ranked first among all inland ports and ahead of second-ranked Port of Pittsburgh’s 16.4 million tons. The Northern Indiana Port District handled 30.3 million tons, which was 2.2 million tons behind the first-ranked the Port of Duluth-Superior, which includes terminals in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Indiana has the largest Great Lakes port district located in a single state. Overall, the Northern Indiana Port District ranked as the 20th largest port in the country, while the Southern Indiana Port District ranked 26th. The rankings are produced by the USCACE Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center, and are based on total tons shipped in 2021, the most recent data available. For many years, Indiana has ranked among the top 15 states for waterborne shipments but due to the statistical boundaries used to qualify ports, many of Indiana’s shipments were not counted in the same way as other region’s ports. Changes proposed by Governor Eric Holcomb and Ports of Indiana allowed for the Corps of Engineers to reclassify Indiana’s Lake Michigan and Ohio River terminals as north and south districts that now include all tons shipped by Indiana businesses. Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority created by Indiana Code 8-10-1, and its Commission formally approved the establishment of two districts in 2020. The southern district includes Ports of Indiana facilities in Mount Vernon and Jeffersonville, and private terminals along the 350-miles of the state’s Ohio River shoreline from Posey County to Dearborn County. The northern district includes Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor, private terminals, and multiple steel mills along Indiana’s 43 miles of Lake Michigan coastline.

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