St. Louis Regional Freightway Offers Educational Riverboat Cruises

The St. Louis Regional Freightway, a public agency founded in 2014 as an enterprise of Bi-State Development, announced April 1 that it is inviting students and educators to sign up now to take advantage of curated riverboat cruises in 2023 that will provide tours through a portion of the Ag Coast of America.

Offered the first Wednesday of each month, the cruises will be open to high school and college student groups, educators and educational administrators and others interested in learning about the Ag Coast and the many career opportunities available in the region’s transportation, manufacturing and logistics industries. The cost per person varies based on age, group size and whether the group is participating in a regularly scheduled tour or a private, chartered tour.

Participants will get an up-close look at critical elements of the region’s multimodal freight network, including roads and bridges, rail and barge facilities and multimodal freight transfer services and ports, all of which have earned recognition for a 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi River running through the St. Louis region as the Ag Coast of America.

The Ag Coast is home to 16 barge transfer facilities that at total capacity can handle more than 150 barges per day. Routinely handling approximately 436,000 tons per mile, the barge industry in this section of the Mississippi River is nearly 2-1/2 times more efficient than its closest competitors, according to the most recent rankings by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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“For student groups and educational administrators, the cruise will help increase awareness of the types of jobs available in the transportation, manufacturing and logistics industries and highlight the pathways to careers that are in demand and offer a great living wage,” said Mary Lamie, executive vice president of multi-modal enterprises for Bi-State Development and head of the St. Louis Regional Freightway. “This specialty cruise opportunity connects classroom academic knowledge to real-world business and industry application.”

Participants will gain an awareness of the impact that transportation has on the local economy and a deeper understanding of the St. Louis region’s role as a world-class logistics hub offering global access from a central location at the nexus of America’s freight network. A visit to the Gateway Arch Museum can be included to learn about the St. Louis Region’s Riverfront Era–highlighting its early role as a distribution point for U.S. goods and an entryway for global imports.

The Ag Coast Cruises take place aboard replica 19th century paddlewheel riverboats that are part of Bi-State Development’s Riverboats at the Gateway Arch enterprise. The Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer riverboats offer a variety of Mississippi River excursions with unique themes and breathtaking views of the St. Louis skyline and riverfront. The boat dock located at the base of the steps to the Arch also offers live music events and other fun activities.

“Given the proximity of the Laclede’s Landing MetroLink station, we encourage the use of the MetroLink for transportation to the Gateway Arch and the riverboats to also highlight transit-related employment opportunities and to provide a fun introduction to a mode of transportation that can be used for job interviews, the commute to work or participating in work-related training programs and to access many of our region’s most popular attractions,” Lamie said.

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