July 15, 2024

First-ever Indiana Container Shipping Conference held

Governor commends ag, port leaders

Container shipping capacity has been identified as a key objective to support Indiana’s economic and agricultural growth.

INDIANAPOLIS — A shipping container filled with Indiana-grown soybeans can travel a long distance to customers across the world.

From a truck on the farm to an intermodal railroad yard, the containers are loaded and carried to a seaport for overseas delivery.

Through Ports of Indiana, local products have access to overseas shipping with two ports along the Ohio River, Mount Vernon and Jeffersonville, and another port in Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan.

The inaugural Indiana Container Shipping Conference and Intermodal Rail Tour was held June 17 to discuss opportunities and challenges in the industry.

At the event, business, agriculture and transportation leaders discussed ways to develop new container ports, grow agriculture exports and expand global trade. They also toured Indiana Rail Road’s Senate Avenue Intermodal Yard.

The event was hosted by Ports of Indiana, Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council.

Gov. Eric Holcomb showed his support by speaking at the event.

“I commend Indiana’s statewide agricultural sector and port leaders for convening this important discussion about growing Indiana’s global trade by expanding our international container shipping opportunities,” the governor said.

“Our state has a proud ag-based heritage and an equally exciting future, led by specialized soybeans, corn and hardwood products that are coveted throughout world markets.

“Leveraging all our port, rail and transportation resources to expand our container shipping connections will strengthen our economy and create even more opportunities for Hoosier farmers, businesses and families.”

Courtney Kingery, CEO of ISA and ICMC, said that improving infrastructure can give Hoosier farmers access to customers overseas.

“Indiana corn and soybean farmers produce premium, value-added products, but often lack easy access to international container facilities that offer efficient shipments of identity-preserved commodities to world markets,” she said.

Did You Know?

• Standard containers are generally 8-feet wide, 8.5-feet tall and 20- or 40-feet long, with larger sizes available.

• Global standardization allows ocean vessels to stack and carry more than 20,000 containers per voyage to multiple countries around the world.

• Indiana ports generate $8.7 billion per year in economic impact for the state and support 50,000 jobs.

• Ports of Indiana is undergoing a $100 million capital campaign that includes eight federal grants, five docks, three railyards, two cargo storage facilities, extensive cargo handling equipment and decarbonization planning.

• The Ports of Indiana Commission approved a plan to launch the Indiana Container Initiative to develop multiple international container terminals. This initiative is designed to increase the organization’s efforts to pursue the development of international container facilities within Indiana’s ports and other locations throughout the state.

Container Shipping

Ports of Indiana aims to lead the development of new container terminals at its three ports, which already provide access to foreign markets for bulk and breakbulk cargoes.

“Container shipping represents a major new venture for Indiana’s ports,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Jody Peacock.

“We don’t handle containers today due to regulatory and market challenges, but containers represent the highest-valued and fastest-growing cargo for ports around the world.

“By working with our state agriculture partners and many others, we hope to develop new container facilities that will allow Indiana to better connect with the global economy.”

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor