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Port Milwaukee Cargo Volume Grows in 2019

Most Cargo Categories Show Year Over Year Growth

For Release: Thursday, January 30, 2020
For more information: Jeff Fleming, 414-286-8580, jeff.fleming@milwaukee.gov

Cargo traveling through Port Milwaukee facilities increased significantly in 2019 led by growth in all major dry bulk categories. The Port’s municipal docks’ total cargo volume was up 24% when compared to 2018. Increases included 10% more cement, 20% more limestone, and 56% more salt.

The good news was tempered by a decrease in cargo handled at private facilities in Milwaukee Harbor. Agricultural product volume, in particular, was affected by international trade dynamics with fewer ships loading Wisconsin-grown grain for export to Europe. Overall, the combined tonnage reported in 2019 from public and private facilities at Port Milwaukee was up 11%. The Port’s total activity in 2019 exceeded its five-year and ten-year average tonnage performance.

Port Director Adam Schlicht presented the 2019 cargo report on Thursday.

Port Milwaukee Tonnage Summary
(in metric tons)

2018 2019
Total Public Docks 1,753,828   2,182,810  
Total Private Docks 640,069   485,814  
Total Port Tonnage and Private Dock Waterborne Tonnage 2,393,897   2,668,624  

“Port Milwaukee has been rediscovered as an essential transportation link for our city and for the region,” Director Schlicht said. ”With increased multimodal traffic in 2019, we are adding more value for growers, suppliers, and manufacturers statewide as well as City taxpayers who benefit from Port Milwaukee’s commercial activity.”

Among the commodities contributing to the port’s strong cargo numbers were steel used in manufacturing and other general cargo arriving internationally through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Port Milwaukee is an economic entity of City government governed by the seven-member Board of Harbor Commissioners, a panel appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett and confirmed by the Common Council. It administers operations on the 467 acres that make up the Port. It promotes shipping and commerce throughout the region by providing access to domestic and international ships, rail, and over-the-road transportation.

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