New National Port Rankings Place Indiana No. 1 Among Inland Ports, No. 2 In Great Lakes Ports
31 May, 2023
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports Southern Indiana Port District handled 24 million tons on Ohio River, Northern Indiana Port District handled 30 million tons on Lake Michigan
For the first time ever, Indiana ports rank first among inland ports and second among Great Lakes ports for cargo shipments. Recent changes to federal port rankings caused Indiana to move from having multiple small port districts and many shipments not counted to having two top-ranked ports on the inland rivers and Great Lakes.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) most recent rankings, the Southern Indiana Port District handled 24.2 million tons in 2021, which ranked first among all inland ports and ahead of second-ranked Port of Pittsburgh’s 16.4 million tons. The Northern Indiana Port District handled 30.3 million tons, which was 2.2 million tons behind the first-ranked the Port of Duluth-Superior, which includes terminals in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Indiana has the largest Great Lakes port district located in a single state. Overall, the Northern Indiana Port District ranked as the 20th largest port in the country while the Southern Indiana Port District ranked 26th. The rankings are produced by the USCACE Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center, and are based on total tons shipped in 2021, the most recent data available.
“It’s extremely gratifying to see the new rankings reflect Indiana’s sizable impact on this country’s maritime commerce and the importance of our ports,” said Governor Eric Holcomb. “As Governor of Indiana, my mission is to increase Indiana’s global competitiveness and our ports play a critical role by bringing the world to Indiana and connecting Indiana to the world. I am grateful to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its ongoing efforts to modernize cargo data collection and recognizing the significance of our ports.”
For many years, Indiana has ranked among the top 15 states for waterborne shipments but due to the statistical boundaries used to qualify ports, many of Indiana’s shipments were not counted in the same way as other region’s ports. Changes proposed by Governor Holcomb and Ports of Indiana allowed for the Corps of Engineers to reclassify Indiana’s Lake Michigan and Ohio River terminals as north and south districts that now include all tons shipped by Indiana businesses.
“This is the culmination of a decade-long effort to ensure Indiana’s robust maritime shipping industry is properly recognized on a national level,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Jody Peacock. “Indiana ranks 12th in the nation for waterborne shipping but we have never had any ports ranked among the national leaders until now. These rankings now fully recognize how much cargo is shipped through Indiana and elevate the ability of our ports to compete for new business, grant funding and global opportunities for Indiana.”
Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority created by Indiana Code 8-10-1, and its Commission formally approved the establishment of two districts in 2020. The southern district includes Ports of Indiana facilities in Mount Vernon and Jeffersonville, and private terminals along the 350-miles of the state’s Ohio River shoreline from Posey County to Dearborn County. The northern district includes Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor, private terminals, and multiple steel mills along Indiana’s 43 miles of Lake Michigan coastline.