The Green Hills Regional Planning Commission announced recently that it will receive a $8,768,000 grant from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd) under the Port Infrastructure Development Program to further the development of container-on-barge shipping services at AGRIServices of Brunswick, Mo.
The commission, one of 19 organizations operating as a sub-state planning and development agency serving the state of Missouri, covers an 11-county area in central Missouri, extending to the Iowa border.
The grant will upgrade the existing port terminal with a new container dock and related mooring structures, add a new rail spur with loading pit and construct a new 360- by 140-foot agricultural supply building with conveyors between the rail and barge dock. The new sheet pile barge dock will provide 200 feet of frontage for loading and unloading barges, and the rail component consists of about 4,000 feet of track that will support a 36-unit train at the port.
The Brunswick River Terminal sits on the Missouri River at Mile 256, near the mouth of the Grand River, between Kansas City and Columbia, Mo. Lucy Fletcher, business development manager for AGRIServices of Brunswick, told The Waterways Journal that thanks to recent maintenance work on the Missouri River by the Kansas City Engineer District to address deferred maintenance, the port has had no shutdowns even during this period of low water, although barges have had to light-load coming upriver.
The facility has expanded the diversity of products that it handles over the last several years. “Another of our goals is to be ready for container-on-barge,” Fletcher said. She credited Inland Rivers, Ports & Terminals Inc. for its work in Washington, D.C., that helped to make grants available to small inland ports. “At one time, the minimum grant amount was $25 million, and it had to be matched,” she said.
AGRIServices of Brunswick currently has two docks, one used for fertilizer and break-bulk, the other a grain cell. The PIDP will fund the addition of a third dock that will increase the type and quantity of throughput. Fletcher mentioned a recent specialty cargo of tapioca from Thailand that was shipped in 1-ton “super-sacks,” creating the ability and flexibility of intermediate bulk carriers to keep specialty products identity-preserved without having to put them into containers. Its destination was Kansas City.
In 2022, a MarAd Marine Highway Project designation was secured for container-on-barge service on the Missouri River. The designation was one of only six awarded nationwide and was the first secured by the Missouri Department of Transportation, which worked with AGRIServices of Brunswick to develop the application.