New agreement to support LNG-fuelled inland shipping in Illinois

A new agreement announced today (15 September) could position Cairo, Illinois, as a national logistics and distribution hub for the intermodal container shipping industry and support LNG-fuelled container shipping on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the process.

Alexander Cairo Port District, Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District (PPHTD) and American Patriot Container Transport announced the agreement today (15 September). The partners say the project 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’.

American Patriot’s patented designed Liner vessels can transport 2,375 twenty-foot length containers (TEUs) – the equivalent of six trainloads of cargo or 2,375 semi-trucks, while the Hybrid design can carry up to approximately 1,700 TEUs. The vessels are said to be capable of travelling upriver at three times the speed of traditional inland tows, providing faster shipping times and cost savings of up to 45% over other options.

What’s more, by maximising cargo capacity and running on LNG fuel, the American Patriot vessels can greatly reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of shipping while decreasing rail and truck congestion and logistics cost.

As sistter publication, Bunkerspot, previously reported, last month, PPHTD signed a letter of intent with potential partners to develop a container terminal on the Mississippi River, located 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, that will be powered by a be powered by a combination of LNG and electricity.

On 4 August, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the State of Illinois would invest $40 million in the development and construction of the Cairo port through the Rebuild Illinois capital plan. The state’s investment will allow the Cairo project to take advantage of the container shipping opportunities created by the agreement.

Some 80% of inland barge traffic in the US passes by Cairo, Illinois. The new port will be serviced by Class 1 railroads and several major highways and will be protected from flooding by recently reinforced levees.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry