Economic impact of Indiana’s ports exceeds $6 billion per year

[June 25, 2012]

A new study shows business activities at Indiana’s three ports contributed $6.38 billion to the state economy in 2011 and supported 51,577 jobs. The annual economic impact and job creation totals both increased by 18 percent since 2009.

“As the global economy struggles to emerge from a deep recession, U.S. ports play key roles helping businesses improve their connectivity to supply chains and customers, and also lower transportation costs,” said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. “Indiana’s three ports handle a diverse mix of cargoes for many different industries – steel-making, manufacturing, construction, windpower, agriculture, alternative fuels and electric utilities. Businesses here and abroad depend on our ports’ road, water and rail connections to receive raw materials and get finished products to customers. Despite recent economic uncertainties, the economic impact of our ports has continued to grow at an impressive rate, reaching an all-time high in 2011.”

The recent study was conducted by Martin Associates – one of the foremost maritime economic consulting firms in the country – as part of a multi-year project started in 2009. The first study was peer-reviewed by economics professors from Indiana University, University of Notre Dame and Purdue University and it showed 2009 business activities at Indiana’s ports generated 43,744 jobs and $5.42 billion in economic impact. As part of the 2011 update, Martin Associates used the same model to allow for comparisons of economic changes in the past two years. Increases in employment, capital investment and shipping volumes at all three of Indiana’s public ports were key factors in the economic growth.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled a 56 percent increase in ship tonnage and 75 percent increase in barge tonnage in 2011 compared to 2009, with significant increases in shipments of almost all major cargoes. There was also more than $23 million in capital expenditures invested into port infrastructure and facility expansions.

The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville handled a 4 percent increase in barge shipments and a 70 percent increase in railcar traffic over the same period, with significant increases in steel, fertilizer and road salt shipments. Since 2009, direct employment increased by 20 percent and more than $30 million was invested into infrastructure and port company facilities.

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon handled a 3 percent increase in shipments by all modes between 2009 and 2011, but experienced a slight decline in some maritime cargoes, primarily coal, as a result of mild winter conditions. Direct employment increased by 11 percent and over $50 million was invested in port businesses as three facilities opened between 2009 and 2011.

Overall, the Ports of Indiana handled an 8 percent increase in maritime shipments between 2009 and 2011, and recorded more than $100 million of investments into port facilities. Employment increases related to port operations also generated a significant increase in personal income (up 20 percent to $2.9 billion annually) as well as state and local taxes (up 21 percent to $271 million annually).

“Our mission is to develop and maintain a world-class port system that operates as an agile, strategically-driven, self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy,” Cooper said. “These numbers validate how our ports help grow Indiana’s economy, but this success would not be possible without the world-class business partners at our ports, support from our local communities and statewide economic policies that ensure Indiana has one of the best business climates in the country.”

Media Contact:
Jody Peacock (317) 233-6225 or

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