New port plans to connect Central Illinois and the gulf

By WEEK Producer

March 1, 2012 Updated Nov 3, 2013 at 7:34 PM CDT

PEKIN, Ill -- A local agency has announced plans to build what it calls the only regional port on the Illinois River accessible to international ports in the gulf.

If approved, Executive Director of Transport Steve Jaeger says the project will create initial construction jobs, and 20 to 30 jobs once the port is complete.

The goal of the project is to move heavy equipment by barge to deep-water international ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

"Today they're having to put these units on large, flatbed trucks and move them with escorts on high, wide loads down to the gulf at great expense. Barge transportation can save a great deal of money for whoever is paying the freight, and it should enhance our competitiveness as a region," Jaeger said.

Jaeger says heavy-equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar and Komatsu have already said they would take advantage of the nearby port.

Transport plans to build on 7-acres currently owned by Aventine Renewable Energy in Pekin.

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