Vanta’s Viewpoint: Ports of Indiana is an infrastructure company

INDIANAPOLIS – Infrastructure: It is the heart of our value proposition and key to what drives the $8.2 billion economic impact the Ports of Indiana generates annually. Indiana ranks in the top 10 in many transportation key metrics including first in interstates, first in rail tonnage of primary metals, second in pass-through truck tonnage, fourth in freight railroads and the list goes on.


So obviously, we couldn’t help but notice when CNBC ranked Indiana as #1 for infrastructure above all other states.  The same group also rated Indiana as #2 for cost of doing business.  Bottom line: Indiana is a great place to be for growth and sustainability. But we can’t be done or rest on these accolades. Being #1 doesn’t mean we stop; we recognize that improvement can and should continue to happen.


In the world economy, our own civil-engineering society rated the whole of the United States as a C-, with the State of Indiana having the same overall grade. Really, that is less than satisfying. This assessment tells us we have more work to do.  As most who have visited our rePORT and website understand, the Ports of Indiana is in a super cycle of infrastructure renewal.


We have finished, are underway or planning more than $58 million in new infrastructure. The current baseline plan is that over the next 15 years we will be involved in the development and execution of more than $228 million of new and replacement infrastructure.


Infrastructure is a very broad term and encompasses many attributes. We focus on the transportation pieces that plug into the greater economy.  Roads, rail, dock walls, buildings, fiber, energy… Wait, what?


Yes, energy is going to be a huge determinate for our industrial base of customers and the future of our economy.  We must be thinking in terms of what can affect the viability and growth of our customers.  Energy reliability, versatility and sustainability all must be part of the planning and enhancement.  In our organization, we stretch ourselves to think in terms of the next 50 years. We must be investing and working in this area now to be relevant in the future.


Baby steps can help an organization like ours grow into bigger and better infrastructure.  Case in point, read the August rePORT first story.  We hosted an electric truck demonstration for customers and local industries.  In many cases, this was the first time individuals came face to face with this technology.


Honestly, it was the first time that I was in an electric vehicle… and it was a class-8 full-size semi-truck. (See photo above.) I must report it was AWESOME!!


Why did we do it?  It’s part of the thought process of what is next. Annually, we have more than 350,000 individual trucks moving at our Burns Harbor port. Our region struggles with air quality issues. Imagine the impact of diesel emissions reductions in an area adjacent to a National Park. The sustainability impact is undeniable. Pair that electric consumption with partner  NIPSCO/NiSource that has dedicated itself to a 90% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and the multiplier effect becomes undeniable.


The interesting part of the equation is that over time, the operating costs on the users goes down.  It really is an interesting proposition.  Want to know more?  We can get you in touch with great people to help show you what we see.  If these fantastic things are to happen, the Ports of Indiana must be prepared to handle the vehicles and the energy needs onsite. More infrastructure is needed on the way to an additional $8.2 billion or more economic impact for the state.


Indiana, infrastructure #1… Yes, you could say we think it’s pretty cool!

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