Ports & Terminals

Port of St. Joseph Ships First Bargeload Of Year

The Port of St. Joseph, Mo., celebrated a milestone when it shipped its first bargeload of grain this year on November 18.

The Missouri River port was established in 2005, during a period of extreme drought and low water on the river. River conditions made it hard for a regular traffic to get off the ground.

After four years of no traffic, a new operator took over the port’s operations in 2018: Transport 360, a then-newly formed logistics company that is a division of MK Minerals. The new port operator proved aggressive about publicizing the port and getting customers interested and loaded its first bargeload in four years—of dried distiller’s grains—in August of that year.

Bill Becker, the CEO of both Transport 360 and MK Minerals, told The Waterways Journal then that he saw great potential for expanding Missouri River barge traffic.

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The port has had to contend with unusual conditions. This spring’s flooding proved disruptive and halted traffic. But the port has moved ahead with expansion plans, opening a 5,000-ton storage facility in July of this year.

Brad Lau, executive director of the St. Joseph Regional Port Authority, said the key to the port’s successful operation is getting the Corps of Engineers to better manage the river’s flow. That means more consistent releases from the reservoirs throughout the year, he said instead of holding back water to favor recreational interests on the reservoirs.