WASHINGTON, DC, US — More than 40 ports across the United States will receive $653 million in funding for improvement projects, including facilities in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota that will help with the movement of grain, the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced.

Under the Port Infrastructure Development Program, the funding will help grow capacity and increase efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports and inland river ports.

The port improvement projects will strengthen supply chain reliability, create workforce development opportunities, speed up the movement of goods, and improve the safety, reliability and resilience of   ports, MARAD said.

Projects were selected based on their ability to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods, as well as on how well they would improve port resilience. Other factors considered during the project evaluation process included the amount of non-federal funding an applicant committed to the project and how well the project enhanced economic vitality, supported workforce development, addressed climate change and sustainability, and advanced equity and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.  

The Agricultural Maritime Export Facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, will receive $9.3 million to build two grain storage silos, make electrical service upgrades, and fund purchase of additional grain and cargo handling equipment to expand the capacity of the port to handle the movement of grain commodities.

The project will improve efficiency by expanding grain storage capacity for staging inbound and outbound grains by over 1.3 million bushels. The grain handling equipment also will expedite the movement of grains and the new facility will allow the port to handle two commodities simultaneously.

Port of Blencoe in Blencoe, Iowa, US, will receive $10.3 million to establish a new port at a site along the Missouri River. The project includes a new commodity handling facility, storage for liquid commodities, receiving and handling equipment, conveyors, elevating legs and additional infrastructure.

The project improvements will eliminate double handling of cargoes by streamlining transfers directly from barge to vessel and generate resulting improvements in safety, efficiency, and reliability.

The project will benefit grain shippers by reducing transport costs by increasing competitiveness and the volume of grain that can be handled. The new facility also will decrease the travel time required for shippers to move their grain to market.

Wabasha Barge Terminal project in Wabasha, Minnesota, US, will receive $2.5 million to construct a new inland river barge terminal on the Upper Mississippi River and develop the necessary access road and utilities.

The project will improve flood and supply chain resilience by creating a new terminal on the Mississippi River that will be constructed to be more resistant to flood related closure. The new terminal also will provide additional capacity for the movement of agricultural commodities and other cargo on the river.  

The Minnesota Bulkhead Rehabilitation and Grain Barge Mooring Replacement project in Red Wing, Minnesota, US, will receive $2 million for bulkhead replacement and replacement of four existing dolphin clusters used for grain barge mooring.