ST. LOUIS — Touted more than a century ago as the gateway to the west, St. Louis has improvements underway to better position itself as the “gateway to the world.”
A coalition led by Mary Lamie of the Bi-State Development Agency has devised an aggressive infrastructure improvement plan and marketing campaign that’s intended to attract and expand more intramodal transportation to the St. Louis area, including Illinois.
Called the St. Louis Regional Freightway, key to the plan’s success is St. Louis’ singular position on the Mississippi River. Perched at top of the Upper Mississippi River, this area is where the river is considered the northernmost freeze-free and lock-free open water. This also is where six Class 1 railroads, five airports and four interstates converge.
Already a critical conduit for Illinois agricultural commodities, equipment and products, the Freightway recently achieved several steps forward, solidifying its claim as the “Ag Coast of America.”
Planning, partnering and branding as a global trade hub are paying off for the Freightway in an “unprecedented” manner. Less than a year ago, discussions at a trade show involving a Louisiana public port, a private vessel company and Freightway officials about concepts for a new kind of multi-modal transportation now are formalized.
In late March, a memo of understanding was signed by the Freightway, four St. Louis area ports and the Port of Plaquemines, south of New Orleans.
What this agreement does, Lamie said, is forge a public-private alliance to generate new business by promoting international and inland trade routes along the Mississippi River.
Article source: agrinews-pubs.com