Ports of Indiana Receives Marine Highway Project Designation from U.S. Secretary of Transporation


[April 18, 2019]

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Ports of Indiana has received recognition from United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao for its leadership role in the development and advancement of the Marine Highway M-35/M-70 Container-on-Barge Service on the Ohio and Upper Mississippi Rivers.

This project is a new container-on-barge service being developed by members of Inland Rivers, Ports & Terminals Association (IRPT), including Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon, along the inland river system connecting ports and terminals on the Ohio River and the Upper Mississippi River; promoting container-on-barge development.

This project will support a waterway transportation network on the river system that will have the capability to deliver vital goods between three major gateway ports – including the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and St. Paul, Minnesota – and establish new trade networks with significant public benefits, creating a foundation for future trade growth.

“Development of this new project involves several IRPT members working collaboratively to address the challenges industries face with the logistics of moving freight,” said Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon Port Director Phil Wilzbacher. “As the volume of freight continues to grow, this project will reduce carbon emissions and highway maintenance, lower transportation costs and provide economic opportunities in the region. We fully anticipate that the service will offer shippers transportation alternatives by utilizing our Marine Highway network.”

“IRPT is proud of our Members and other industry professionals seeking innovative transportation opportunities such as container on barge shipping in order to alleviate congestion on surface transportation and provide an alternative to current rail supply chain routes” said Aimee Andres, Executive Director of IRPT. “Using container-on-barge offers not only benefits to individual shippers by way of comparable pricing and modal competition, the service offers many benefits to the nation, such as savings from surface transportation improvements and most importantly, it fulfills the nation’s increased freight needs with little impact to communities,” added Andres.

There are over 12,000 miles of navigable rivers in the United States. One standard 15-tow barge moves the same amount of freight as 225 rail cars or 1,050 tractor trailers, with far less pollution. Andres noted river transportation of goods is the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly form of transportation in the United States and said IRPT strongly endorses the initiative to bring intermodal containers to the inland river system.

About the Ports of Indiana: The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority operating three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. Established in 1961, the Ports of Indiana is a self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy by developing and maintaining a world-class port system. Information: Follow us on Twitter: @PortsofIndiana.

About the Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc.: Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc. (IRPT) is a nationwide trade association composed of ports, terminals, users and suppliers of the U.S. Inland Waterway system. IRPT promotes the use of our nation’s rivers as the most cost effective, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation.


Media Contact: Aimee Andres, AMPE, Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc.,

Media Contact: Shelley Triol, Ports of Indiana,


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