CAIRO (WSIL) -- A new agreement announced today could position Cairo, Illinois as a national logistics and distribution hub for the rapidly expanding intermodal container shipping industry.
The agreement between the Alexander Cairo Port District, Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District and American Patriot Container Transport would make the proposed Cairo river port terminal a model for 21st century inland waterway shipping and key logistics terminal for the newest inland waterway vessels that are larger, faster and more efficient than anything on US waterways today.
The Cairo Port and Plaquemines Port both agreed to provide intermodal container-handling services for American Patriot Container Transport’s next-generation container shipping vessels.
The vessels can safely travel upriver at three times the speed of traditional inland tows, providing faster shipping times and cost savings of up to 45% over other options.
Illinois Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) says container transportation is expected to grow substantially and this will impact southern Illinois and the entire Midwest.
"When we have the confluence of those two great rivers and we can go straight to the Gulf of Mexico, lock free, with these incredible vessels, just in container transportation alone, it's going to be a huge boost to the economy not only of that area, Alexander County, but all of the region," said Sen. Fowler.
The Cairo port would serve as a vital link between the Midwest, the new Plaquemines terminal, and global markets.
The partnership would also bring new jobs and opportunities to the region.
According to the Alexander Cairo Port, 80 percent of the inland barge traffic floats past Cairo every year.
In August, Governor JB Pritzker announced that the State of Illinois would invest $40 million in the development and construction of the Cairo port.