LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Sunday marks the end of Wisconsin Port Week.
It's a week that promotes and celebrates Wisconsin ports and their impact on the state's economy.
Wisconsin's commercial ports generate around $1.6 billion in economic activity, according to the Transportation Development Association.
"We're definitely blessed to have that magnitude (of ports). It's like being located on the interstate," said Karl Green, of the La Crosse Port. Green is the community resource educator for UW Extension – La Crosse County.
The La Crosse Port is a prime location on the Mississippi where commodities come into the city or they're transported throughout the U.S.
"It just sort of facilitates the economy and the continual movement of good because it's a cheaper, more direct approach to bulk commodity transportation," Green said.
In La Crosse County, more than 350 jobs are directly associated with river commerce, according to Green. About 500 additional ones are in some way related.
Locally, commercial ports create more than $4 million in annual salaries and $400,000 in tax-based revenue, Green said.
"Like with the cement that we bring in, that's just plain cement. So there's distributors all over the Midwest that take that cement, mix it with aggregate, and then you get concrete. So then you're creating jobs basically because you have an outlet for that commodity," said Mark Binsfeld, business development manager for Brennan Marine and J.F. Brennan Co.
Binsfeld's crews handle barges filled with agriculture products, iron and cement.
"Where there's not a huge time table, you don't need it tomorrow, maybe you have a month window – as long as it's in New Orleans (for example) in a month or two – it's actually the cheapest most economical way to move heavy tonnage," he said.
According to Binsfeld, shipment by barge is economical because it uses much less fuel than a truck and can carry almost 70 times as much.
A barge can move one ton of cargo more than 600 miles on one gallon of fuel, according to the TDA.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.