Governor Tony Evers announced a $4.9 million Harbor Assistance Program grant on February 24 to support the construction of a new agricultural commodity bulk vessel transload facility at Port Milwaukee.

The $31.3 million facility, the first of its kind on the Great Lakes, is being constructed at the port by the DeLong Company. The transload facility will initially export dried distillers grain, an animal feed supplement that is a byproduct of Wisconsin’s ethanol industry. The terminal also will be able to handle other bulk grains such as soybeans, corn and wheat in the future.

“The diversity of Wisconsin’s agriculture industry is our strength, and part of our international appeal,” said Governor Evers. “Our state’s agribusinesses rely on finding markets for the high-quality products our farmers produce. This grant connects the dots between our agricultural producers, state agencies, and businesses like DeLong that serve our agriculture community.”

The facility also received a $15.9 million grant from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) and $4.3 million in additional funding from Port Milwaukee. In 2019, combined tonnage at Port Milwaukee’s public and private facilities was up 11% from 2018, totaling over 2.6 million tons handled.

“The Port Milwaukee facility is an excellent illustration of transportation’s far-reaching impact,” said Randy Romanski, interim secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “This project efficiently moves our agricultural goods to market. Most importantly it connects us to international markets, allowing for the transport of greater quantities and the ability to serve new customers.”

Created in 1979, WisDOT’s Harbor Assistance Program helps harbor communities maintain and improve waterborne commerce. Applications are reviewed by the Harbor Advisory Council, which includes members from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UW Sea Grant, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and alumni from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

“This grant will pay huge dividends,” said Craig Thompson, Wisconsin Department of Transportation secretary-designee. “In addition to supporting our vital agricultural industry, investments in our unique transportation asset – the state’s ports and harbors – prolongs the investment in our highways. Moving heavy bulk products by water saves our roadways from enormous wear and tear.”

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