Three Powerful Ports

By creating self-funded public ports, Indiana has harnessed the power of two major waterways – the Great Lakes and Ohio-Mississippi rivers. Our three locations in Burns Harbor, Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon attract world-class companies and millions of dollars in private investment.

Indiana becomes a state with 43 miles of shoreline. Before this, the Indiana territory stopped 10 miles south of Lake Michigan.

Creation of the Indiana Board of Public Harbors and Terminals. The development of this organization led to the idea of creating a deep-draft harbor in the Burns Ditch area.

Indiana Port Commission comes into existence. This new port authority was empowered to “promote the agricultural, industrial and commercial development of the state and to provide for the general welfare by the construction and operation, in cooperation with the federal government, or otherwise, of a modern port.”

Ground-breaking of the Port of Indiana. After 35 years of struggle, the Port of Indiana dream became reality through the help of several grants from Gov. Roger Branigin and the General Assembly. More than 600 people stood on the edge of Lake Michigan in 50 mph winds to celebrate.

Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor opens. The establishment of this port laid the foundation for future development in the world’s largest steel producing region,  inspired the creation of two more state-owned ports along the Ohio River.

Opening of the Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon. An up-and-coming state senator from Evansville – future Gov. Robert Orr – rallied support behind conducting a study for a port in southwest Indiana. This resulted in a $1 million grant toward the creation of the Mount Vernon port. The formal groundbreaking ceremony took place in 1973 and the port officially opened in 1976.

Opening of Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville. Despite many roadblocks – including outcries against the establishment of the Indiana port by citizens south of the border claiming Kentucky owned Indiana’s Ohio River shoreline dating back to its statehood in 1792 – Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville opened in 1985, over a decade after the idea of a third port came to light.

A $13 million project begins at Burns Harbor to redesign the breakwater and create a new underwater segmented reef to reduce wave force on the breakwater.

Federal Marine Terminals/Fednav moves their Fednav Atlantic Lakes Line (FALLine) division from Chicago at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

Norfolk Southern began providing rail-switching services to Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor

The Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor handles largest project cargo shipment to date: 134 wind turbines on 11 ships.

The Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor receives Green Marine certification, a voluntary environmental compliance program. Meanwhile, Valero Renewables locates its ethanol plant at Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon, the first ethanol facility located at a major port on the Inland Waterways System.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awards Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville $10 million of the TIGER Grant, partial funding of the $20 million of the expansion of railroad and intermodal infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Ports of Indiana three-port system handles over 12.2 million tons of cargo, the first time annual shipments exceeded 12 million tons in the port authority’s history.

  • POSCO, the world’s fifth largest steelmaker, opens facility at Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville
  • Considered a landmark year for Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor: The port receives congressional support for nearly $20 million infrastructure expansion, one of only 10 “FASTLANE” small project grants in the year; handles an 8 percent increase in cargo shipments; doubles the size of its bulk terminal; attracts a nationally-renowned stevedore in Metro Ports.
  • The Ports of Indiana three-port system handles 14.8 million tons of cargo, the best year in the organization’s history.
  • The American Metal Market named Ports of Indiana the Logistics/Transportation Provider of the Year
  • Consolidated Grain and Barge Co (CGB), completed its $32 million expansion at its soybean processing facility at the Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon.
  • Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon receives recognition from U.S. Secretary of Transportation for its leadership role in the development and advancement of the Marine Highway M-25/M-70 Container-on-Barge Service on the Ohio and Upper Mississippi Rivers.
  • Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor hosts Indiana’s first U.S. Navy vessel commissioning ceremony for USS Indianapolis
  • All three port locations receive the coveted Green Marine certification, voluntary environmental compliance program, making Ports of Indiana the first state-wide port authority to achieve such distinction.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awards Ports of Indiana $4 million to make bulk cargo supply chain improvements by converting a vacant gravel yard into a multimodal storage facility at Burns Harbor. Meanwhile, MARAD awards a Marine Highway Grant to the Ports of Indiana for developing a steel barge shuttle with Nucor Steel at its Jeffersonville port.

Ports of Indiana History Gallery Photo 1
Ports of Indiana History Gallery Photo 4



* indicates required