Missouri River Stakeholders Meet with Corps, Coast Guard

If there’s one thing Missouri River stakeholders want shippers to know, it’s that the river is open for business and has been for a long time. That statement was
recurrent throughout the one-day meeting held in Kansas City, Mo., February 13.
Approximately 150 attendees—the best-attended meeting for the group so far,
according to some—joined in discussions on freight movements at Missouri River
ports and terminals, river and business challenges and opportunities, and
government briefings.
“I thought the meeting went very well,” said Mitch Roberts, navigation business line manager for the Kansas City Engineer District. “The meeting provides a great forum for the navigation community to vocalize its accomplishments from the previous
year, as well as challenges, opportunities and concerns to the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard in a cooperative manner. It has been successful in
building positive working relationships in the river basin.”
The annual meeting allows for stakeholders to come together with government
representatives from both the Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers to discuss issues that impact the river and their businesses.
“As an industry, we continue to be frustrated with some issues and have a hard
time moving them forward,” said Lucy Fletcher, business development manager of AGRIServices of Brunswick (Mo.). “We seem to be addressing the same issues every single year. On the Corps’ side, we seem to be addressing different issues every
Fletcher said there is interest from the Corps in holding a meeting with Missouri
River stakeholders in the spring to discuss revitalization and to also help move
forward the Lower Missouri River Study that was authorized by the
Water Resources Development Act 2018 and co-sponsored by Port KC.
In addition to Corps, Coast Guard and representatives from the National Weather
Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, several port and
Missouri River business leaders presented on how 2018 shaped up and what the
industry could expect from them this year.
Speakers included Jon Stephens, president and CEO of Port KC; Capt. Steve
Engemann, president of Hermann Sand & Gravel Inc. and Missouri River Towing
LLC; Doug Bonderer, operations manager for AGRIServices of Brunswick; Brad
Lau, vice president of economic development for the St. Joseph Economic
Development Partnership and executive director of the St. Joseph Regional Port
Authority; John Fletcher, founder and general manager of Central Missouri
AGRIService LLC; J. Chris Klenklen, deputy director of the Grain Inspection and
Warehousing division at the Missouri Department of Agriculture; and Michelle
Hataway with the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

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