More than 2.2 million tons of cargo were handled by the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville in 2016, completing the highest three-year total in the port's history. Over 7.4 million tons have been handled at the port since 2014.
The 2016 total marks the third consecutive year the port exceeded two million tons of cargo and was the port's third highest tonnage since the port opened in 1985. Major cargoes included steel, grain and fertilizer. The annual shipping total was 17 percent higher than the previous five-year average.
"The continued strength of the automotive sector along with steady improvement in building construction fueled our solid results in 2016," said Port Director Scott Stewart. "Add to that the first installment of the infrastructure bonanza in and around the port was also completed in 2016. The December opening of the Lewis & Clark Bridge links southern Indiana to Louisville and beyond and greatly enhances the port's connectivity to the region's manufacturing sector, including Ford's Kentucky truck plant in Louisville which is now only 15 minutes away."
Shipments of steel were the second highest in port history, helped in part by continued demand in the U.S. auto industry, which sold a record 17.6 million new light trucks and cars in 2016, according to Autodata Corp. The port has a total of 14 companies that process or handle steel, aluminum, lubricants or plastics and support the top six U.S. automakers.
During 2016, another steelmaker announced plans to locate at the port. POSCO, a multinational company headquartered in South Korea and the fifth-largest steel producer in the world, is currently constructing a wire rod processing center with operations expected to begin in August. By 2018, the company anticipates creating 60 high-wage jobs.
Also during 2016, Mill Steel completed the move of its Midwest Building/Painted Products division to the port, enhancing the distribution, processing and logistics capabilities for its painted metal roll-forming customers. VOSS Clark added a laser welder and other upgrades to its tension-level pickle line and slitting lines allowing it to handle the latest high-strength steels used primarily by the auto industry.
Idemitsu Lubricants America Corp., a provider of finished lubricants for a variety of applications, including the automotive and industrial markets, completed a $7 million expansion that increased capacity and improved efficiency. Consolidated Grain & Barge Co. invested over $5 million in additional storage capacity which supports imported rye destined for the bourbon industry in Kentucky and Indiana.