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  June 4th, 2015 | Written by

Port of Duluth’s Largest Terminal Project Begins

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  • Port of Duluth’s international cargo and international trade volumes expected to increase with new terminal.
  • Newly planned Duluth Intermodal Facility will specialize in project cargo, heavy-lift cargo
  • Port of Duluth begins work on its biggest infrastructure project in almost six decades #intermodal #projectcargo

The Great Lakes’ Port of Duluth, Minnesota, has officially begun work on its biggest infrastructure project in almost six decades – a ‘roll-on/roll-off’ intermodal terminal with twice the weight bearing capacity of any existing dock in the Twin Ports.

With a capacity of one ton per square foot of dock, the planned Duluth Intermodal Facility will specialize in handling ‘project’ and heavy lift cargoes such as parts for wind turbines, oil extraction or mining equipment.

“This is going to be our biggest project since the Clure Public Terminal, which started the Port Authority, and that was back in 1959,” says Duluth Port Authority Executive Director Vanta Coda.

The planned 28-acre site has remained relatively unused for more than 20 years. The new facility will cost about $17 million to develop and is expected to be completed as early as the fall of 2016.

According to the port authority, the redevelopment process will include replacing corroded sheet piling and deteriorated wooden dock walls, resurfacing the deck, reinforcing heavy-lift capacity and constructing a new roll-on/roll-off dock.

Work will also involve dredging adjacent waters for vessel berths, installing road and rail connections, plus adding safety and security enhancements.



Situated at the westernmost point of the Great Lakes of Lake Superior, Duluth is one of the largest ports on the U.S. Great Lakes and is readily accessible to oceangoing vessels from the Atlantic Ocean via the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaways.

The port, the largest dry bulk cargo port in the U.S., handles about 1,000 ships and 38 million short tons of cargo annually. Outgoing cargo mainly consists of iron ore, coal and grain , while inbound cargo involves limestone, cement, salt, and energy-related project cargo moving to and from the U.S. Midwest.

“By upgrading this port we really help with jobs throughout the region, and we want to be able to compete with those big ports in South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia,” says Minnesota State Senator Amy Klobuchar.

The new Duluth facility “is projected to increase the amount of international trade the ports can handle and that’s an important part of being a viable link in the world’s chain of trade,” she adds.