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The World Trade Center St. Louis recently hosted a webinar discussing the ongoing national supply chain crisis and the role the St. Louis region can play in helping to alleviate it for businesses and consumers. The event featured a panel of experts discussing the global challenges being faced and how routing it through the bi-State St. Louis region can be part of the solution.

Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises for Bi-State Development, and head of the St. Louis Regional Freightway said that companies are looking for a location that is both multimodal and globally accessible, both of which are qualities the St. Louis region possesses. With the most efficient inland port in the nation and six Class I railroads, the St. Louis region offers access to all four quadrants of the United States, making St. Louis an ideal location for customers who need to quickly move during supply chain disruptions. The Mississippi River to the gulf coast supply chain also provides access to a wide array of international customers in places such as Europe, Africa, and South America.

Executive Director of America’s Central Port Dennis Wilmsmeyer called attention to the proposed merger between Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern that would put the region on par with Chicago in terms of rail connectivity. He also cited the additional advantages the region offers with its central location putting shippers just a two-day truck drive from 70% of the U.S. population, and advances with Container-on-Barge and proposed Container-on-Vessel services make shipping on the inland waterways even more competitive.

Wilmsmeyer spoke about how the supply chain problem began. At the start of the pandemic, China was the first to shut down factories and slow production at a time when the rest of the world also shut down. This led to a sudden surge in demand for things like home improvement goods and electronic computer products as people transitioned to working from home, but the supply of product coming out of major global trade hubs like China suddenly came to a grinding halt. This initiated what is an ongoing supply chain problem. “You add to that the sheer backlog of things … going to the Chinese ports, stacking up there, then getting loaded on ships and coming to California for shipment across the United States and then the backlog there… It is an entire movement, slowly, [like] a watermelon moves through a snake, that backlog slowly moves through the system,” said Wilmsmeyer. He added that what we are seeing now – and have experienced over the past year, especially on the West Coast – is that this whole movement has further been slowed by a shortage of workers, from truck drivers, and rail workers to dock hands.

The St. Louis region is positioned to be part of the solution to this crisis, particularly pertaining to congestion at West Coast ports. “The St. Louis region is a reliever for other regions, such as Chicago,” said Lamie. “Our port system can serve as an alternative for others during national and global supply chain disruptions.” She also called attention to the ongoing infrastructure expansion projects that are helping to ensure the region can continue to have the capacity to  serve as a reliever.

Panelist Robert Shapiro, a partner with Thompson Coburn explained that there may also be certain options available to importers to speed up the shipping process by changing where they choose to clear customs, and that there is a cost-versus-timeliness tradeoff to be considered.

“There’s an option when you’re importing goods to either clear them through customs at the first port of arrival, or you can clear customs at the port of destination. So, let’s say you’re shipping a container from Los Angeles, CA (LA) to St. Louis, MO. You could make entry in LA, or you could conduct the customs formalities in St. Louis. There’s some extra costs to push that clearance route out to St. Louis because you have basically two entries that you would be filing, but it does facilitate moving the goods off of the pier more quickly,” Shapiro said. “Customs wouldn’t be examining containers in Los Angeles, which slows things down – if an examination is going to occur, it would happen in St. Louis.”

Shapiro added that, while there’s been much talk of the government stepping in to require changes at the West Coast ports to ease the congestion, there are limits to the role the government can play in helping alleviate this crisis, and the processes involved means that change is often implemented too slowly.

“I’m an optimist. I think we are already beginning to see some relief, and I think we will be through this crisis by middle of 2022 or into the third quarter. But it takes time to redo things,” Shapiro said. “I also think that some of it depends on the progress of the pandemic. We were with Delta now we’re dealing with Omicron. It is possible that the next variant will delay progress.”

To learn more about the World Trade Center St. Louis and the initiatives they’re involved in, visit


About World Trade Center St. Louis

For more than 25 years, as the international division of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, WTC has supported growth for the region’s businesses, most importantly, ensuring St. Louis companies are represented in an increasingly global marketplace. From customized research to trade training, hosting inbound/outbound delegations and managing St. Louis’ Foreign Trade Zone, WTC brings together a strong system of business and government agencies to support trade and investment and enhance St. Louis’ global connectivity. To learn more, visit

container vessel


Key stakeholders behind the efforts to launch innovative Container-on-Vessel (COV) service to the Midwest today announced that Hawtex Development Corporation is signing on as the lead developer for a new COV port facility in Jefferson County, to be developed in collaboration with Fred Weber/Riverview Commerce Park LLC and integrating a 300+ acre adjacent parcel owned by The Doe Run Company. The new port will be a critical link on the new, all-water, north-south trade lane connecting the Midwest and the St. Louis region to the lower Mississippi River and on to worldwide destinations. Representatives from the Jefferson County (MO) Port Authority, Jefferson County, Missouri, Bi-State Development, American Patriot Holdings LLC/American Patriot Container Transport LLC and APM Terminals joined the newest partners in this bold initiative on Dec. 17 in Herculaneum, Mo., where the port will be located, to provide details on the new facility and the service it will support.

Hawtex Development Corporation, a business development and consulting company with operations in Texas and Hawaii, has been working with American Patriot Holdings over the past several years to help in identifying and establishing market-ready locations for Mississippi River intermodal container facilities, with an initial focus on the Memphis and St. Louis regions. In the St. Louis region, the Herculaneum site that is already home to Fred Weber/RCP’s current port facility and adjacent to the parcel owned by The Doe Run Company emerged as the most advantageous site to develop a state-of-the-art intermodal container facility to serve this central Midwest region for both the export and import of containerized cargo.

“Through this new collaboration with our partners here in Jefferson County, Hawtex is looking forward to leading the development team for the planned facility on the Mississippi River at Herculaneum,” said James Hurley, President of Hawtex Development Corporation. “We will be leading discussions with RCP and The Doe Run Company principals to complete a comprehensive Development Agreement beginning early in the new year, and we will be meeting with and confirming service requirements for a number of St. Louis-based and regional beneficial cargo owners throughout Q1 of 2022. Our goal is to bring this facility to operating status in Q4 of 2024.”

The facility is in the early stages of development and the new partnership allows all parties to start planning efforts that enable final investment decisions. The total amount of the investment to be made at the new port is yet to be determined.

Sal Litrico, Chief Executive Officer, American Patriot Container Transport LLC (APCT), which is developing the patented new vessels that will carry the containerized cargo along the underutilized Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers, also revealed at the event that APCT has issued a solicitation to seven US shipyards for construction of four of the patented container on vessels that will provide the new COV service, and an option for four more, another critical milestone in this initiative. The call for submissions was issued Dec. 14 and proposals are due at the end of February.

“The new partnerships being forged today and the advancements we’re making toward construction of the new vessels represent another huge step forward for this unique supply chain option that will reduce transportation costs for shippers by approximately 30 to 40%,” said Litrico. “The Mississippi River is ice free and lock free from the St. Louis region all the way south to the Gulf Coast, enabling us to bring our new vessels with the capacity to carry 2,375 20-foot long by 8-foot tall shipping containers right into the heart of the Midwest, and this new port facility will be developed specifically to be able to handle those vessels and containers.”

Mark Denton, Vice President of Fred Weber/Riverview Commerce Park, shared his enthusiasm for the proposed new service and the role that RCP will play in it.

“When Fred Weber, Inc. set out to start Riverview Commerce Park in 2013, our CEO, Doug Weible, told me that we would be handling containers here someday. While Doug has always had great foresight, I don’t believe even he could have envisioned what the APH team has put together with these amazing new vessels that will revolutionize the container shipping industry, not just in the Midwest, but throughout the world,” said Denton.

The announcement about the new Jefferson County facility follows news of other recent milestones met that are helping to move the new COV service closer to reality. In August of 2020, American Patriot Holdings LLC (APH) and Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District (PPHTD) in Louisiana announced they had signed a letter of intent to develop a multimodal, state-of-the-art container terminal at its facility near the mouth of the Mississippi River, which would be the gateway port for the new COV service. APM Terminals North America was recently announced as the Container-on-Vessel terminal operator for the gateway port and is working with global shippers to integrate this proposed new logistics system with Midwest manufacturers and producers.

“The Plaquemines protected river port location and export/import market strength coupled with the strategic middle-America location of the Herculaneum port in the St. Louis region makes this a very unique supply chain offering for customers and our growth ambitions,” said Brian Harold, Managing Director of APM Terminals. “We look forward to working with all of the partners involved and with state and local leaders to ensure both ports are set up for long-term success.”

The Vessels & The Opportunity

The patented APCT vessels will be built in two sizes with the larger “Liner” vessel traveling between the gateway terminal in Plaquemines and the Mississippi River ports in Memphis, Tenn., and the new port facility in Herculaneum. The smaller “Hybrid” vessel will have a container capacity of 1,800 TEUs and is designed to move through locks and low-lying bridges on the tributary rivers, providing service from those two primary Midwest ports to feeder ports along the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers in the St. Louis region and other upstream ports, including ports in Kansas City and Jefferson City in Missouri and in Joliet and Cairo in Illinois and Fort Smith in Arkansas.

Both vessels are designed with a patented “Exoskeleton Hull Structure” designed to limit the vessels’ lightship weight to maximize cargo payload. The second patented feature is the “Minimal Wake Bow Structure” which minimizes hull resistance enabling upriver speed of 13 miles per hour with minimal wake.  Expected round trip times to Memphis is six days and St. Louis in 10 days, significantly faster than traditional barge tows. The vessels will also be environmentally friendly, utilizing LNG (liquefied natural gas) power, and cargo flexible with ability to carry a diversity of cargo, including refrigerated containers.

“Given the supply chain disruption we’ve seen over the past two years and the continuing congestion at the West Coast ports, there is no question that shippers need alternatives,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises for Bi-State Development and head of the St. Louis Regional Freightway, which has been working to build relationships with other Midwest ports over the past few years to help advance the COV initiative. “This is a new option to transport freight. The state of Missouri and the St. Louis region already play a critical role as a reliever during supply chain disruptions and our freight advantages are fueling this new opportunity to elevate the Mississippi River and the Missouri River’s role in global trade.

The proposed new service will also be welcomed by members of the agriculture industry, who recognize that currently 50% of U.S. crops and livestock are produced within a 500-mile radius of the St. Louis region, including approximately 80% of corn and soybean acreage.

“Missouri’s river system is an invaluable means of transportation for our state’s number one industry – agriculture. This container-on-vessel service allows our supply chain to remain strong and reliable, delivering products in the most sustainable, efficient and cost-effective way to end-users,” said Gary Wheeler, Missouri Soybeans CEO and executive director. “As Missouri’s leader in agricultural exports, our organization and farmers have been involved and invested in American Patriot Holdings to move more product and aid the state’s economy and environment. Our soybean growers understand this immense value and is why we continue to devote dollars into modernizing our state’s infrastructure.”

To get more details on the new service or request a proposal, shippers can contact Sal Litrico via email at or phone at 813-924-9031.

port of virginia


As the fifth busiest container port in the U.S., the Port of Virginia obviously provides a financial boost for Virginians—but also Missourians as well.

You see, the Port of Virginia is one of the St. Louis region’s primary gateways to the world. Dedicated rail service provided by two Class I railroads–Norfolk Southern and CSX–connect the St. Louis region to the East Coast port, where more than $900 million has been invested within the past three years. 

That investment has doubled the Port of Virginia’s capacity and increased efficiencies for getting freight on and off both rail and ocean carriers. That translates into time and cost savings for importers and exporters in the St. Louis region who utilize the Port of Virginia and its ocean carrier services for global connectivity. 

“We have 30 weekly services with our ocean carrier customers, and that gives shippers in the St. Louis community or any of our inland connections a lot of options,” explains Aaron Katrancha, director of Breakbulk, Ro-Ro & Rail Sales for the Port of Virginia. “You can get basically anywhere in the world from the Port of Virginia—Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, India, subcontinent, Middle East, Mediterranean, South America, you name it. We have those global connections to offer the St Louis market.” 

Katrancha likens the rail connections between the intermodal yards of the St. Louis region and the Port of Virginia to commercial airline service.  “Our rail services run on a very concrete schedule that our customers can set their watches to,” he boasts.  

Bi-State Development, which operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway, has taken the lead in ensuring local shippers are aware of the scheduled rail services and the benefits they offer, Katrancha explained in a talk at May’s FreightWeekSTL 2021 with Mary Lamie, executive vice president of Multi Modal Enterprises at Bi-State Development.

“Everything that Aaron has shared today,” Lamie said, “reinforces the global significance of the Port of Virginia and opportunities for growth between our two regions.” 


Anheuser-Busch Keeps Beer Deliveries “Green”

Emissions-free beer delivery is another eco-friendly accomplishment announced this week through a collaborative effort between Anheuser-Busch, Nikola Motor Company, and BYD. Bud Light brand beer was onboard the zero-emissions fleet which included a Nikola hydrogen-electric vehicle and an electric BYD vehicle from the Anheuser-Busch brewery to the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

“At Anheuser-Busch, we are continuously searching for innovative ways to improve sustainability across our entire value chain, progressing towards reaching our sustainability goals and driving our industry forward,” said Ingrid De Ryck, Vice President of Procurement and Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch. “No single company can build a more sustainable future alone but this zero-emission delivery has shown what is possible when we bring together the various strengths and assets within our supplier network to work towards a shared objective of a better world.”

Anheuser-Busch is dedicated to its 2025 Sustainability Goals which includes a 25 percent reduction in reducing carbon emissions by 2025. The company continues to maximize emissions-free efforts through partnership projects, including one with BYD that would add 21 BYD electric trucks as well as a 958.5 kW solar array vehicle charging to four of its SoCal distribution facilities.  Additionally, the company ordered 800 hydrogen-electric powered Nikola semi-trucks last year, adding more value to eco-friendly efforts.

“As the first commercial delivery of freight with our hydrogen-electric truck, this is an exciting time for both Nikola and Anheuser-Busch. This milestone will become an example for all other OEM’s to move away from diesel trucks and towards zero-emission vehicles,” said Trevor Milton, Nikola’s chief executive officer. “We look forward to helping the Anheuser-Busch team achieve their sustainability goals by leveraging Nikola’s zero-emissions technology. We are now preparing production vehicles for Anheuser-Busch and plan on delivering the trucks as fast as possible.”

“Partnering with Anheuser-Busch is a great opportunity to showcase BYD’s performance and reliability with an industry leader,” said Stella Li, President of BYD Motors. “Our dedication to innovation pairs nicely with Anheuser-Busch’s sustainability commitment.”

Dascher Expands Logistics Profile in Korea, US Midwest

Atlanta, GA – International logistics provider Dacsher has expanded its footprint in Korea and the US Midwest.

The company has acquired the remaining 50 percent of MGI & Dachser to create Dachser Korea Inc. with headquarters in the Korean capital of Seoul.

Dascher has maintained a presence in South Korea since 2006 and became the sole shareholder of the joint venture in December 2013.

The new company will also conduct sea freight business in Busan and air freight handling in the company’s most important hub, Incheon. In addition, the logistics provider offers professional consolidation services specifically for air freight pallets at the Dachser warehouse facility on the airport grounds.

The joint venture, MGI & Dachser, has established a strong presence in the Korean market. In the future, Dachser Korea, Inc. will place particular focus on expanding sea freight activities in Busan.

At the same time, Dachser Transport of America Inc. announced the opening of a new office in St. Louis, Missouri, to support the company’s continued expansion in the Midwest.

The new office is conveniently located in the St. Louis Customs Building across from Lambert International Airport. It directly supports customers in southern Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, and will work in tandem with Dachser’s recently opened new office and warehouse in Chicago.

“The Midwest has become one of Dachser’s biggest growth markets in the US, and we’re focused on enhancing our facilities within the region to continue to best meet the needs of our customers,” said Frank Guenzerodt, president and CEO of Dachser USA. “This focused expansion in the Midwest also benefits other regions in the US, and expands our overall global footprint.”

The combined capability of the newly opened office in St. Louis and warehousing facility in Chicago means the majority of the Midwest is able to be serviced with next day deliveries with over 80 percent of the US population is reachable via trucking transit within two days, the company said.

In addition, the new warehouse integrates with Dachser’s globally-recognized Mikado software system.