February 05, 2023

Northern Grain Belt Ports approval a win for soybean growers

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Soybean Association applauded the U.S. Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center and the Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center for recently approving the Northern Grain Belt Ports on the Upper Mississippi River between Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The federal approval allows the ports to be listed and ranked on the annual U.S. Leading Ports list as it is a solid top 100 U.S. port, similar in size to the port of Miami based on freight tonnage.

“The addition of the Northern Grain Belt Ports to the Corn Belt Ports family creates and bolsters an important national identity for America’s largest grain producing and exporting region,” said Todd Main, ISA director of market development.

“We welcome them to our larger team and value their role in making our products more competitive in the global marketplace.”

The designation marks the first time in history Wisconsin ports on the Upper Mississippi River are federally listed and ranked, making the region more competitive for federal government, state government, and nonprofit organization investment.

“The Corn Belt Ports are an essential part of the national and global supply chains, attracting over $1.25 billion in additional transportation and natural infrastructure investment since 2021 from federal and state government organizations, and nonprofit organizations,” Main said.

“We expect the Northern Grain Belt Ports will see increased investment in their region comparable to growth and expansion the federal approval of the Illinois waterway ports has provided.”

This also completes the grassroots effort that started in 2019 to federally recognize the ports and terminals in America’s most significant grain-producing and exporting region.

That year, the Corn Belt Ports, located above Locks and Dam No. 26 at Alton, Illinois, collectively handled 96 million tons of cargo on the Upper Mississippi River and the Illinois Waterway System.