Did You Know? FAQs

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Ports of Indiana

How many ports are in Indiana and where are they?

Indiana has three public ports – one on the southern tip of Lake Michigan in Portage, 18 nautical miles east of Chicago and two on the Ohio River – one in Jeffersonville just across from Louisville, Ky., and one in Mount Vernon, 15 miles west of Evansville.

Who operates Indiana’s ports?

The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority established in 1961. The Ports of Indiana is dedicated to developing and maintaining a world-class port system that operates as an agile, strategically-driven, self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy.

How do international shipments get to Indiana?

Indiana’s port system receives ocean-going ships through the Great Lakes and barges via the Inland Waterways System. The Ports of Indiana is the only statewide port system that has ocean access via both the Great Lakes and inland river systems. The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor receives ocean and lake vessels as well as barges. The river ports in Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon only receive barges because of the shallow river channels. All three ports send and receive international shipments that are transloaded between barges and ocean vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.

How big are the ports?

Indiana’s three ports encompass 2,800 acres and serve as maritime industrial parks that are home to more than 60 businesses.

How many jobs are supported by the ports?

There are more than 51,000 total jobs supported by port activity. This includes direct, indirect, induced and related jobs.

Where do the ports’ cargoes come from? Where are they going?

Most of the cargo is coming from or going to countries outside of North America. A small percentage is Canadian and just over a third is domestically-oriented. More than half of the cargo shipments begin or end in a country across an ocean, such as England, China, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, France and the Netherlands.

How much cargo is shipped in and out of Indiana by water?

The state of Indiana ships roughly 70 million tons of cargo by water each year at public and private terminals on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. The Ports of Indiana handles approximately 8 million tons of maritime shipments at its three ports. Primary cargoes moving through the Ports of Indiana include steel, grain, coal, fertilizer, limestone, ethanol, salt, cement and heavy-lift equipment. Other unique shipments have included barge movements of Indiana National Guard troops, restored World War I tanks from Europe, the world’s largest crawler crane, beer tanks for Midwest breweries, the largest wind turbines in North America, hay bales for drought-stricken farmers in the South and an entire Boeing 727 airplane for a Chicago museum.

What are Foreign-Trade Zones?

Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) are special designations given to areas that allow companies to postpone, reduce or eliminate duties on certain international products in the zone. While in an FTZ, materials can be stored, manufactured, processed, assembled, packaged or destroyed without being subject to U.S. duties until they leave the zone. The Ports of Indiana administers Foreign-Trade Zones for the state of Indiana.