Monday, July 5, 2010

Agreement on expanded Cincinnati port could come by September

By September 15, Cincinnati City Council hopes to vote on a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority that would outline the implementation and operations of an expanded riverfront port.

Council adopted the motion supporting the Cincinnati River Port and Rail Improvement Project, which would boost the City's freight capacity by tying the existing rail network to the riverfront through the mile-long Cincinnati Bulk Terminals (CBT) property.

Currently, barge cargo unloaded on the CBT site must be trucked across Mehring Way to be loaded onto rail cars, a method that has proven uncompetitive and is costing the port business.

Project improvements would include an upgrade to the CSX tracks at the western end of , a temporary at-grade crossing on Mehring Way, and expanded material handling areas and conveyor systems at the port.

An additional motion by Councilmember Jeff Berding directing City Manager Milton Dohoney to prepare an agreement to transfer ownership of all parcels leased by CBT to the Port Authority was passed at council's June 30 meeting. Estimates are that the move could cost the City $350,000 in annual revenue.

In May, the Port Authority applied for a $5 million forgivable loan through the Ohio Logistics and Distribution Program to help fund the project. The State of Ohio Controlling Board could vote on the application as soon as July 19.

Federal funding could become available next year through the Marine Highway Program, and CBT has pledged $1.6 million in private matching funds.

Previous reading on BC:
Ohio funds could create true 'Port of Cincinnati' (5/27/10)
Lease extension allows Vertus to bring clean coal to Queensgate (6/24/08)
Cincinnati Bulk Terminals lease could extend to 2036, bring clean coal (5/28/08)


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