Indiana agency seeks to expand container shipping presence

The Ports of Indiana Commission has approved a resolution to launch “The Indiana Container Initiative,” which it says will support developing multiple international container terminals within the state.

Statewide port authority Ports of Indiana operates multiple facilities on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan, but none of the state’s ports currently handle container shipments. Its bulk cargo terminals handle coal, agricultural commodities, finished steel and steelmaking raw materials, including stainless scrap melted at the North American Stainless mill in Ghent, Kentucky.

“Containerized freight represents a critical component of our state’s international trade and a new frontier for expanding our ports,” Ports of Indiana Commission Chair Micah Vincent says. “This resolution clearly states our vision and commitment to develop new container facilities that will increase the value of our ports and provide critical shipping connections for Indiana businesses.”

While larger domestic recycled metals consumers may receive materials in bulk cargo shipments, sellers and buyers of numerous secondary raw materials—including aluminum, copper, old corrugated containers (OCC) and plastic—often rely on containers, especially for overseas shipments.

The Indiana Ports Resolution 24-01 authorizes the agency to take several measures, including to “vigorously pursue the development of international container terminals at appropriate locations within Ports of Indiana’s facilities and other Indiana locations.”

That pursuit could include making “significant investments” and seeking out additional funding sources, whether through federal grants, public-private partnerships or other funding sources, the agency says.

Also listed as a priority will be pursuing regulatory approvals necessary to establish container facilities along Lake Michigan, the Ohio River and inland locations in Indiana, if appropriate.

Another avenue for the agency is to engage in partnerships, trade missions, international agreements and collaborations to establish new global container shipping opportunities for Indiana.

That, in turn, can help Ports of Indiana explore international best practices for leveraging governmental assistance and legislative actions that can promote, incentivize and advance global container shipments, and remove bureaucratic impediments for developing and operating container facilities, according to the organization.