Metro-East News

St. Louis Regional Freightway signs agreement with Port of New Orleans

The St. Louis Regional Freightway on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Port of New Orleans to exchange market and operational information.

The goal of the agreement is to grow trade and build upon existing and new business relationships between the two regions and their ports.

The agreement also calls for joint marketing efforts to meet those objectives.

“This agreement, and the collaborative partnership it is founded on, will go a long way toward helping coordinate the Port of New Orleans’ supply chain with our supply chain and enhancing the St. Louis region’s ability to move freight up and down the Mississippi River for the entire nation,” said Mary Lamie, executive director of the St. Louis Regional Freightway. “We now have a framework to work more closely together to generate new business activity that will help accelerate the present level of economic growth by increasing revenues to the Port of New Orleans and optimizing the St. Louis region’s freight network.”

Lamie was part of an 11-member group that included John M. Nations, the chief executive officer of Bi-State Development; Susan Taylor, the director of port business development for the St. Louis Development Corporation Director; Dennis Wilmsmeyer, the executive director of America’s Central Port; and Ed Weilbacher, the general manager of the Kaskaskia Regional Port District, to visit with representatives of the Port of New Orleans.

We believe the agreement entered into this week will stand as one of the most significant accomplishments of the Freightway due to the far-reaching positive impact it will have for the region and the nation.

Bi-State Development Chief Executive Officer John M. Nations

Bi-State Development said the core of the MOU is the “shared recognition that continued growth at the Port of New Orleans, and future growth around freight movement through the various ports in the bi-state St. Louis region, are intrinsically connected.”

The Port of New Orleans is served by the Mississippi River and its tributaries, which have 14,500 miles of navigable waterways. The St. Louis region includes three inland ports, including the nation’s third- and eighth-largest inland ports.

Bi-State said 500 million tons of cargo are already handled by the Lower Mississippi River.

Officials said they hope the St. Louis Regional Freightway is able to capitalize on new container-on-barge shipping. Having the MOU in place would help ensure that as growth continues at the Port of New Orleans it triggers growth on the inland waterways, such as those in the St. Louis region.

“We believe the agreement entered into this week will stand as one of the most significant accomplishments of the Freightway due to the far-reaching positive impact it will have for the region and the nation,” Nations said. “With a projected 40 percent growth in freight volume over the next 30 years, the actions we take today are laying the groundwork for our region to be a premier gateway for the freight community in the 21st century.”

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