Ports & Terminals

Two River Ports Receive Ohio Grant Funding

The Ohio Department of Transportation has announced the recipients of its 2022 Maritime Assistance Program (MAP) grant awards, including more than $5.1 million for projects in public port districts along the Ohio River.

Awards on the inland waterways went to the Columbiana County Port Authority for $1,113,139 on behalf of three of its tenants and to the Monroe County Port Authority for $4 million for construction of a dock and mooring cells.

The Ohio General Assembly created the program in 2020 to increase cargo handling on Ohio’s waters. MAP awarded funding to companies with projects on the Ohio River and Lake Erie. The initial round included $18.8 million in funding, with a second round of funding for $4.19 million.

The legislature funded the program for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 with $23 million for infrastructure improvements, said Mark Locker, project manager for freight, maritime and logistics for ODOT’s Office of Statewide Planning and Research. The grant requires a 50 percent funding match.

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Penny Traina, executive director of the Columbiana County Port Authority, said the grant program was the first significant source of ODOT funding dedicated exclusively to water-based freight infrastructure in decades.

“These grants allow port authorities to increase the capability of cargo handling to facilitate commerce in this rapidly growing region,” she said. 

She noted that Columbiana County moved 2.3 million tons of cargo on the Ohio River in 2018, the most recent year for which data was available.

The Columbiana County Port Authority received grant funds for three businesses within the port district: Pier 48 Stevedoring LLC, S.H. Bell Company and Quality Liquid Feeds.

Pier 48 Stevedoring LLC will use its grant of $1,113,140 from the MAP program to fund half the cost of purchasing two new Caterpillar skid steers.

S.H. Bell Company will use its grant of $630,500 to fund half the cost of a new Manitowoc cable boom crane.

Quality Liquid Feeds will use its $422,640 to fund half the cost of equipment acquisitions as well as property improvements, production efficiency storage and product protection. Specifically, it goes toward funding a new man lift, Mitsubishi forklift, 40- by 60- by16-foot storage building, a 4,000-pound-capacity barge line hoist, a 235-hp. Vapor Power steam boiler, a new concrete slab for storage, boring lines for offloading molasses and a new air compressor with dryer.

Traina thanked Locker specifically for all of his assistance with the grant program. “He has been a remarkable partner,” she said.

 The Monroe County Port Authority received $4 million for construction of a bulkhead at the port authority’s “Powhatan #7” development site. Specifically, the funding will pay for a dock and mooring cells. Powhatan #7 is a 70-acre riverfront industrial development site with 12 existing barge cells in the Ohio River.