Port commissioners from Western Hemisphere applaud Indiana governor’s maritime vision

Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb received a standing ovation by port commissioners from around the Western Hemisphere May 16 when he described Indiana’s maritime accomplishments and plans for the future. Holcomb addressed the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Commissioners Seminar, hosted by the Ports of Indiana in Indianapolis, and reminded the visiting officials that Indiana’s three public ports and private docks ship over 65 million tons of cargo each year. The governor noted that the state’s access to the Ohio River and Lake Michigan perfectly positions Indiana for handling international maritime shipments at the Crossroads of America.

“Indiana’s maritime industry generates $21 billion in annual economic activity and supports 155,000 jobs,” said Holcomb. “Being 700 miles from an ocean has not hindered us at all. We can ship and receive ocean freight right in the heartland—which is a competitive advantage for our businesses—and that is one of the major reasons Indiana has become a logistics hub for North America in recent years. Location, location, location. And we’re just getting started.”

The AAPA represents more than 130 public port authorities in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. The two-day Commissioners Seminar, which provides discussions of key international maritime issues related to port governing boards, was held in Indiana for the first time.

Holcomb also stated that Indiana accounts for 40 percent of U.S. economic activity related to Great Lakes shipping and, in the last three years, the Ports of Indiana recorded its highest shipping totals in the organization’s 56-year history. He also noted that Indiana recently established a first-of-its-kind maritime partnership with the province of Quebec to develop new shipping connections, and helped create the first-ever Governors and Premiers Great Lakes Maritime Strategy in 2016, designed to double maritime trade while reducing the environmental footprint of regional freight transportation.

“We are not only investing in roads and bridges and rail and airports—we will invest in our water ports as well,” said Holcomb. “Right now, we are pursuing the development of a fourth port in southeast Indiana. This is an important project for our state. It’s been over 30 years since we last opened a port. Indiana’s ports have been tremendous catalysts for economic growth, and with our future investments in the pipeline, I know the best is yet to come!”

The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority that operates three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. These facilities handle cargoes for all 50 states and 31 countries.

“Our ports are connected to two of the world’s busiest inland waterways, which provide access to global markets,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. “When you combine these maritime connections with our robust road and rail infrastructure, as well as our strong business environment, you can easily see why Indiana was recently recognized as the best in the Midwest for business by Chief Executive magazine, and fifth-best in the nation. Our governor’s leadership and the state’s strong maritime industry are critical components of this success.”

Maritime Editorial