Ports of Indiana seeks operator for Mount Vernon terminal

Written by Marine Log Staff
Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon general terminal

Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon general terminal [Photo: Ports of Indiana]

Ports of Indiana has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to identify potential operators for the general cargo terminal at Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon. The 11-acre facility includes three warehouses totaling 90,000 square feet, potential connections to five Class I railroads, and a 60-ton dual lift crane capable of transloading cargoes between warehouse, barge, truck, and rail.

“The Mount Vernon crane terminal is a unique multimodal facility that is strategically located at the median center of the U.S. population,” said Jason May, port director at Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon. “This terminal connects the country’s busiest inland port district with as many as five Class I railroads, just 20 miles from the new I-69 Canada-to-Mexico highway coordinator. We’re looking for a partner that can maximize this facility’s potential to increase general cargo shipments and grow the regional economy.”

The terminal underwent $2.5 million in upgrades in recent years, including a new 60-ton electric crane installed in 2020, a barge winch system installed in 2023, a complete concrete floor replacement in 2019, and upgraded fire suppression system.

The 75-foot-wide crane can service multiple rail spurs and truck lanes on the upper and lower riverbank areas and extends more than 700 feet from barge berth into a 53,000 square foot warehouse. The facility could be operated on as much as 11 acres, including two additional adjacent warehouses and 3 acres of outdoor storage area.

The port has barge fleeting and rail switching companies on site, as well as more 600 acres of industrial sites available for future business development and expansion.

“Ports of Indiana is looking for more than just a breakbulk stevedore,” May said. “The terminal operator would be expected to grow and diversify shipments, partner with the port on facility expansions, and drive projects that create significant economic benefits for the regional economy.”


The search for a new terminal operator comes as, for the first time ever, Indiana ports rank first among inland ports and second among Great Lakes ports for cargo shipments. Recent changes to federal port rankings caused Indiana to move from having multiple small port districts and many shipments not counted to having two top-ranked ports on the inland rivers and Great Lakes.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) most recent rankings, the Southern Indiana Port District handled 24.2 million tons in 2021, which ranked first among all inland ports and ahead of second-ranked Port of Pittsburgh’s 16.4 million tons. The Northern Indiana Port District handled 30.3 million tons, which was 2.2 million tons behind the first-ranked the Port of Duluth-Superior, which includes terminals in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Indiana has the largest Great Lakes port district located in a single state. Overall, the Northern Indiana Port District ranked as the 20th largest port in the country while the Southern Indiana Port District ranked 26th. The rankings are produced by the USACE Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center, and are based on total tons shipped in 2021, the most recent data available.

The RFQ seeks qualifications from companies interested in operating the crane terminal with responses due by July 7. Ports of Indiana will issue a formal Request for Proposals to qualified companies.

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