Economic Development News

Progress made on Central Missouri Multimodal Port Project
Published: Monday, June 19, 2017
By: Randy Allen

In the 21st century economy, the Chamber is constantly struggling with what we can do in the central region of Missouri to leverage our physical, geographic and human assets to enhance the need to create good jobs now and in the future! One of the new ideas championed by the Chamber is a project to create a Central Missouri Regional Multi Modal Port Authority and the accompanying infrastructure. The first step accomplished was to locate potential sites that could leverage access to the river, rail and highways. The initial site chosen is one located between the Skelton Training Center in the Algoa area and the Algoa Correctional Center on land available for this purpose. Discussions with decision makers at the National Guard last summer confirmed their interest in participating in further discussions of mutual benefit at their site. In addition, a site was proffered on the north side of the river in Callaway County as a part of the study.

Some have confused the idea of a Commercial/Industrial River Port to load and unload large amounts of agricultural and manufacturing products and a recreational boat docking facility known more broadly as a “marina”. Our interest is currently focused on the former.  The port project does not preclude a potential marina facility once considered at MSP in the original masterplan. As MSP develops this idea could be regenerated.

Why is the Port a great idea? If determined to be economically and functionally feasible, our central Missouri location could provide a gateway for exports to other parts of the United States and the world. More and more companies are looking for alternative ways to move resources to and from market. Cost considerations, environmental impacts and highway funding are all bringing the interest in river transportation back to the forefront. We believe funding will be available to port authorities that demonstrate economic viability.

In order to secure the necessary approvals and consequently the funding, a feasibility study needs to be conducted. The Chamber has placed this idea on the table, asking the City, Cole County and Callaway County to partner to fund the study. The study will provide:

  • An Intermodal Freight Market Assessment to assess the market feasibility of various logistics based development opportunities and to prepare a marketing plan for the opportunity deemed most feasible

  • A Site Assessment and Site plan Layout to determine the suitability and infrastructure investment requirements of the two identified sites to meet the needs of the identified development opportunities

  • A Benefit-cost Analysis (BCA) to determine the potential monetized dollar value of transportation system benefits and economic impact analysis of direct, indirect, and induced monetized benefits of program-related increases in economic activity 

  • An Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis of Identified Development Opportunity to quantify the economic and fiscal impacts arising from the identified development opportunity in terms of regional output, income, employment and tax revenue. Logistics hubs can be expected to generate certain types of new jobs – not only temporary construction jobs, but also permanent jobs in the transportation carriage, warehouse/distribution, manufacturing, and other industry sectors. 

Figure 1 represents the essential elements of the process and a final report.

The Chamber has asked the City of Jefferson, Cole County, and Callaway County to join as partners in developing the feasibility study. Each of those entities has been asked to allocate $47,600 toward this cost share agreement. The JC City Council recently approved the agreement and funding at its meeting on June 5. Cole County will consider the agreement at their June 13 meeting and Callaway County is set to act thereafter. Assuming all partners agree with the cost sharing arrangement, the Chamber will contract with Cambridge Systematics, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, in conjunction with Hanson Professional Services, Inc. of St. Louis to study and report the results. Cambridge is currently under contract with the Missouri Department of Transportation to study the economic impact of the current 14 Missouri port authorities. The Chamber expects the consultant to deliver their final report sometime in early fall 2017.

Without question the Chamber believes we have the necessary resources and could be logistically positioned to take advantage of the ever-growing need to integrate river, rail and highway transportation as it becomes more important to deliver our products in Missouri to the world economy. The Chamber continues to work hard to facilitate economic development opportunities for the 21st century economy.

As always, if you have questions or comments please direct them to Randy Allen, President/CEO at or by phone at 573-638-3580.

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