Two Inland Marine Expo Sessions To Focus On U.S. Port Investment

Inland and coastal ports and terminals are the convergence points for cargoes moving into and out of the United States, the on- and off-ramps for the nation’s inland waterway system. They are where goods transported by barge, rail or truck are loaded onto ships bound for overseas ports and where global cargoes are brought in to be transferred and moved inland. By rail, road, water or pipeline, inland and coastal ports and terminals are critical to national security and the nation’s economy.

The 2022 Inland Marine Expo (IMX) will feature a pair of education sessions focused on port developments and infrastructure investments across the United States, with a focus on how those investments enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the ports featured. Both sessions will be held on the morning of May 25, the final day of IMX. Mary Lamie, executive vice president of multimodal enterprises for the St. Louis Regional Freightway, will moderate both sessions.

The first session, titled “Investing in the Future: System-Wide Port Development & Freight Opportunities,” will focus on the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) and the Pittsburgh Port District. Brandy Christian, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, will outline ongoing developments within Port NOLA’s three-parish district, including plans to build a 1,200-acre container terminal and logistics park in Violet, La., in St. Bernard Parish. Strategically, the new terminal would be located below the bridges in New Orleans that cross the Mississippi River, thus circumventing air draft restrictions currently in place.

Mary Ann Bucci, executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, will speak on developments within the 12 counties and 200 miles of navigable waterways in western Pennsylvania that make up the Pittsburgh Port District. Special attention will be given to construction and maintenance on the locks and dams in the region and how that impacts the flow of commerce.

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Finally, Chad Dorsey, director of the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Inland Waterways Gateway Office in Paducah, Ky., will discuss MaRad’s Marine Highway Initiative and ways the federal government is partnering with states, port authorities and private industry on short- and long-term projects to grow the movement of commodities on the nation’s rivers, canals and harbors.

Immediately following that session, the focus will shift to three midwestern ports—America’s Central Port in Granite City, Ill., Kaskaskia Regional Port District in Red Bud, Ill., and Port KC in Kansas City, Mo.—and how infrastructure funding and port investments will strengthen their competitiveness and reinforce their place in the nation’s freight and logistics network. The panel will feature Dennis Wilmsmeyer, executive director of America’s Central Port; Ed Weilbacher, general manager of Kaskaskia Regional Port District; Mark Coulter, vice president and general counsel of Port KC; and John Grothaus, program manager for Missouri River studies at the Kansas City Engineer District. Wilmsmeyer, Coulter, Weilbacher and Grothaus will discuss how port investments, infrastructure funding and projects being studied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will boost barge services and cost efficiencies in the Midwest region.

IMX will be held May 23–25 in St. Louis at The Dome at America’s Center. Besides exhibitors on the trade show floor and education sessions, IMX will feature a kickoff reception, an opening keynote titled “Advocating for Tomorrow’s Waterways,” Maritime Throwdown competitions, a party at Ballpark Village that will coincide with a St. Louis Cardinals game, ample networking opportunities and a closing session that will celebrate this year’s IMX Achievement Award recipient, Cherrie Felder, and 40 Under 40 honorees.

More details, including the complete IMX education session lineup, the entire trade show schedule and hotel and trade show registration information, is available at