Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handles 2.6 million tons in 2016
The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled nearly 2.6 million tons of cargo in 2016, completing the highest three-year total in the port’s history. Over 8.6 million tons have been handled at the port since 2014. Other 2016 highlights included a major expansion by Ratner Steel, a significant increase in heavy-lift cargoes and the investment of $2.5 million in port infrastructure improvements.
The 2016 shipping total was the port’s third highest tonnage in the last 10 years. Major cargoes included steel, limestone, carbon products, grain and iron ore. Grain shipments were up 57 percent from 2015 levels while coal was up 11 percent. Mineral and oil shipments increased 19 percent.
“Fourth quarter shipments were especially strong for us and included two export ships of Indiana grain and raw materials for the steel industry, as well as several large-dimensional cargoes,” said Port Director Rick Heimann. “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.”
Ratner Steel, a producer of carbon sheet steel for service centers and the manufacturing of agricultural and transportation products, announced a major expansion at the port in 2016. The Minnesota-based company is adding 100,000 more square feet to load and unload steel shipments. The $8 million investment is expected to be completed by March.
The port’s established ability to handle heavy-lift cargoes continues to attract project cargoes from world markets. Shipments of large-dimensional cargoes were up nearly 25 percent in 2016. Shipments included multiple large cranes and containers of crane components from Europe for intermodal yards around the Midwest, storage tanks destined for manufacturers and wind tower components and blades.
Nearly $2.5 million was invested in port infrastructure in 2016 including dredging and adding stabilization stones to two berths, increasing the number of docks capable of handling full Seaway draft vessels. To improve multimodal connections, the port also replaced 2,000 feet of rail track and rehabilitated three rail turnouts.
Maritime operations at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor generate nearly $4.9 billion per year in economic activity and support more than 39,000 total jobs. The port currently has 110 acres available for development.