MILWAUKEE — In a few weeks, construction will begin on the busted and abandon buildings located in the Port of Milwaukee, to make way for the new agricultural export terminal.
“As we are moving towards demolition in the next couple of weeks, already some of the foundation and key structures for the new facility are already arriving here at the Port,” said Port Milwaukee director Adam Tindall-Schlicht.
The $35 million dollar project is designed to handled various products from Wisconsin/Midwest farmers like dried distillers goods, corn, soybeans, and grain.
“With this $35 million dollar facility, the Port’s commercial utilization will increase on an annual basis between 3 and potentially 5 hundred metric tons per year,” said Tindall-Schlicht.
The redevelopment is the largest in the Port’s history. It’s being made possible through the USDOT Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) grant, public and private partnerships. The numbers are U.S. Department of Transportation: $15,893,543, Wisconsin Department of Transportation: $6,150,000, Port Milwaukee: $5,700,000, DeLong Co, Inc.: $7,004,501.
The DeLong Co will contribute about $ 7 million dollars to the project. According to the DeLong Co, they expect to export anywhere from $40 to $50 million in agricultural goods during the first year.
Tindall-Schlicht said this is a way to make exporting for farmers easier.
“We need to look at new opportunities at the heart of what Wisconsin is and Wisconsin our economy is about growing and producing,” said Tindall-Schlicht.
During 2020 the Port saw both challenges and growth. In January 2020, storms and high lake levels brought damaging floods causing millions in damages and the pandemic forced officials to make changes to operations. However; despite the challenges, Port utilization increased. In 2020, 349 vessels visited the Port compared to 274 in 2019.
In 2020 the Port saw its highest cargo volume in seven years, with a 5% tonnage growth in 2020.
The goal is to have the new terminal fully operational before the international shipping season of April of 2023.