Economic Development News

So, What's the Latest with the Port?
Published: Monday, December 10, 2018 8:00 am
By: Missy Bonnot

The summer of 2018 was a busy one!  The chamber spent many hours working to prepare an application to the Missouri Department of Transportation staff and ultimately MoDOT Highway and Transportation Commissioners.  The process had many steps and wasn’t a matter of just completing a few questions or checking a few boxes.  It included:

  • Contractual agreements approved by all governing bodies
  • Creation of By-Laws
  • Public Hearing
  • Detailed Port Application

We worked very closely with our economic development partners; the City of Jefferson and Cole County.  Since we were applying to be a regional port authority and we also spent much time working with Callaway County.   On September 6th, the proposed Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri was formally approved by the MoDOT Commission to create a formal public port authority for Cole and Callaway counties. 

A long time coming

Some type of port has been discussed for decades in our community but the idea was further developed by the chamber in 2008.  We wanted a way to take advantage of our proximity to the river and the need for multimodal transportation options for our existing businesses and potential new projects.

In 2015, the project redeveloped from a renewed interest in river freight and more congestion on the highways. A working group was established to move “PROJECT PORT” forward.

What’s to come?

The most recent action has been the securing and announcing the Port Authority Board of Commissioners and I am excited to say that we have a great Board that includes all levels and areas of expertise!

The Heartland Port Authority Board of Commissioners was appointed by the three jurisdictional entities. Per the initial bylaws, three members were selected each from Jefferson City, Cole County, and Callaway County.

The Board of Commissioners are:

Callaway County
Roger Fischer, Callaway County Western District Commissioner
Hank Stratman, MG, Retired, US Army
Doug Mertens, Con- Agg

Cole County
Kris Scheperle, Cole County Western District Commissioner
Calvin Broughton, Retired, Military
Gary Wheeler, Missouri Soybean Association

Jefferson City
Rick Mihalevech, Jefferson City Councilman
Jim Jordan, Real Estate Developer/Consultant
Roger Schwartze, Retired, MoDOT District Engineer

The first Board Meeting was held on November 28th and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce will serve as the managing entity during the startup period.

The Board elected officers:
Rick Mihalevech, Chairman
Roger Fischer, Vice-Chairman
Kris Scheperle, Secretary
Gary Wheeler, Treasurer

We will be working to develop a list of private sector partners who may want to participate in the on-site operation of the port or as users of the Port and who wish to have a permanent on-site facility.

The chamber, along with our other Economic Development partners will work with state and regional economic development agencies to develop a targeted plan to attract businesses to the port.

We will target businesses that would benefit by the shared access to facilities a port would provide.  Sharing could include services provided by shipping agents, brokers, shippers, and packing companies, as well as those related to support activities. Asset sharing would allow companies within the port district to obtain economies of scale and these economies would position the port to compete for customers, tenants, and trade.

It has been a lot of work to get us to where we are today and we still have a lot of work ahead of us.  This long-term project will require many financial resources and a lot of time!  Our goal is to have the Port operational within 5 years.






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