Ports keep Wisconsin’s economy afloat and moving forward
August 17, 2012
Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed August 20 – 26 Wisconsin Ports Week. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin (TDA) are teaming up to promote, educate and celebrate the network of ports that contribute to the state’s economy, environment and quality of life.
"The 29 commercial ports in our state play a vital role to the quality of life we all enjoy in Wisconsin," said Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb. "Ports are an important part of the state’s transportation infrastructure, as several businesses rely on these facilities to transport goods into the state, as well as ensure that many products from Wisconsin have an entryway to the global economy."
Each year, Wisconsin’s ports handle more than 40 million tons of cargo, valued at more than $8 billion. In addition, they provide an important transportation alternative for the movement of goods, generate approximately $1.6 billion in economic activity, and support almost 10,000 jobs. Ports are also used as hubs for passenger transportation (ferries) and for recreational activities.
Key products moved via Wisconsin’s ports and waterways include farm and agricultural products, coal, cement, limestone, asphalt, heavy machinery, wood products, metal materials and steel, and other goods and raw materials.
"We utilize the Port of Milwaukee for a variety of our logistics needs," explained John Disharoon, Vice President of Industrial Relations for Caterpillar, Inc. "Given the size of many of our structures, we rely on the port to handle these shipments to customers around the world."
Water transportation is efficient and environmentally responsible. A barge can move one ton of cargo more than 600 miles on a gallon of fuel. This is more miles than by rail (478 miles) or by truck (150 miles).
"Our ports have helped shape Wisconsin’s history as a manufacturing and agriculture state," added Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin Executive Director Craig Thompson. "Wisconsin’s ports provide a competitive advantage – a way to move both bulk products and very large pieces of equipment safely and efficiently. Most states in this country simply couldn’t move many of the products Wisconsin is able to move on a consistent basis through our ports."
Editor's note: A PDF version of Governor Walker’s Ports Week Proclamation is available online, along with additional information about Wisconsin's waterborne commerce, at the WisDOT Waterways web page.