Ports & Terminals

Shawneetown Port Nears Construction

A public-private partnership to revitalize a former coal-loading facility into one for offloading fertilizer is nearing construction.

The $14.2 million project at Ohio River Mile 853 at Shawneetown, Ill., was made possible with an $11.2 million Rebuild Illinois capital grant and $3 million of investment by the Scates family, owners of Scates Group Intermodal River Terminal LLC and a family trucking business.

The terminal has agreed to a long-term lease of river frontage, including two existing mooring cells, to the Shawneetown Regional Port District.

Project developers have hired Brown & Roberts of Harrisburg, Ill., as engineer and are preparing to let a request for proposals for a contractor within the next few weeks, said Steve Galt, secretary/treasurer for the port district.

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Plans call for construction of a 20,000-ton dry fertilizer storage facility to be built about 500 feet from the levee. Machinery for custom blending of fertilizer is also included, as well as material-handling equipment, a working barge, a conveyor and a pipeline that could eventually allow for offloading of liquid fertilizer. Two mooring cells already permitted by the Corps of Engineers also will be utilized.

Elevar Agri-Solutions signed an agreement with SGI River Terminal last year to move fertilizer through the facility.

The project came about after SGI River Terminal purchased property previously owned by River Materials, which was affiliated with Peabody Coal. Peabody Coal had been active in the area since the 1960s but ceased operations in the region in 2021. The property lease allowed what had until then been a land-locked port to have access to river frontage. Subsequent to the agreement, the port acquired additional acreage, including river frontage, from Peabody Coal about one-quarter mile downstream, Galt said. That expanded the port from 50 to 150 acres. Existing assets include an asphalt pad capable of holding 750,000 bushels of outdoor stored grain.

While the port will employ up to eight full-time workers, along with an estimated additional 20 to 30 new trucking jobs, an additional 12 to 15 jobs could come in barging and fleeting, Galt said. He has already been in contact with nearby Shawnee Harbor Fleeting about service to the site.

Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg), whose 59th District includes the project site, stressed the importance of the port project to the region and expressed his thanks for the Rebuild Illinois grant that helped make it possible.

“The Shawneetown Regional Port District is a great example on how a public/private partnership can come together to further utilize our natural waterways on both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers,” he said. “Since the $11.2 million funding opportunity was announced, there has been even more interest in helping make this region of the 59th District prosper. I am thrilled with the work that has been done in prioritizing this opportunity for area producers, the local workforce and economic development. I applaud Gov. [J.B.] Pritzker and his administration for making valuable investments in southern Illinois.”