St. Louis Port Authority
The Port Authority of the City of St. Louis supports economic development in the City’s 6,000-acre Port District, which lies along the City’s 19 miles of Mississippi River frontage. In addition to managing leases for City-owned property in this area, the Authority works with shipping stakeholders across the bi-state area to promote regional commerce.
Port Authority Activities
- Marketing and Business Development Services
- Creates new and participates in ongoing redevelopment projects across the Port District.
- Works with St. Louis Regional Freightway (www.thefreightway.com). Per the Freightway:
The Port of Metropolitan St. Louis is also located in the heart of a 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that has become known as the Ag Coast of America. It is home to 15 barge-transfer facilities that, at total capacity, can handle 150 barges a day – the highest level of capacity anywhere along the Mississippi River.
The St. Louis region’s port system is the second-largest inland port system in the United States, and was ranked the most efficient port system by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2018 data). The St. Louis regional port system is responsible for 8% of the 855 miles of the Mississippi River, but carries one-third of the river’s total freight. In 2018, the region’s barge industry handled more than 534,000 tons per mile – more than 2.5 times more efficient than the closest competitor.
- Works with Inland Rivers Ports & Terminals (www.irpt.net), Missouri Port Authorities Assn (www.missouriports.org), Inland Marine Expo (www.inlandmarineexpo.com), the US Army Corps, and others to promote regional shipping.
- Attends and staffs the Mayor at Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative (www.mrcti.org) and other port-related events .
- Lease Management
- Develops new leases in the Port District.
- Offers mooring leases for fleeting, docking leases for cargo operations, and land leases for associated commerce.
- Resolves issues with existing Port District leases.
- Welcomes river cruise vessels from many ports along the Inland Waterways; expects 26 visits in 2020 (May-Oct) by boats mooring at the Gateway Arch. Coordinates levee parking, clean-up, and other preparations for their arrival.
- Works with local operators of the Gateway Arch cruise and heliport operators.
- Writes state and federal grant app's for Port District infrastructure and planning projects.
- Developing state Advanced Industrial Manufacturing (AIM) Zones. AIM Zones may be established on property within the Port Authority’s jurisdiction, ownership or control. In 2017, the Port Authority established an AIM Zone that included all property within the then-existing port district boundaries. Within AIM Zones, 50% of the state withholding taxes generated from “new jobs” after development or redevelopment commences are deposited in an “AIM Zone Fund” and can be used by the port authority to expand, develop and redevelop AIM Zones, including payment of costs relating to managerial, engineering, legal, research, promotion, planning, and bond debt service. No new AIM Zones can be created after August 28, 2023, and no existing AIM Zones can incur new debts secured by AIM Zone Fund revenues after August 28, 2023. However, existing AIM Zones will continue to be operational until all debts incurred before August 28, 2023 are retired.
- Manages Port District bond activities. With approval of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, the Port Authority may issue industrial revenue bonds to facility real and/or personal property tax abatement for businesses within the Port Authority’s boundaries. The bonds do not require voter approval, and are often purchased by the benefited company for the sole purpose of obtaining tax abatement rather than to access capital. The tax abatement is achieved by the Port Authority taking title to property during the abatement period and leasing that property back to the benefited company. When the abatement period ends, title is transferred to the company for nominal consideration.
- Develops Port Improvement Districts. Port Improvement Districts may be established within the Port Authority’s boundaries to assist in funding various projects within the Port Authority, including but not limited to public infrastructure. The Port Authority may petition the Circuit Court for the creation of a PID. Once created, the Port Authority may seek approval from the qualified voters within the PID (either registered owners or, if there are no registered owners, the property owners) of a sales/use tax of up to one percent and/or a property tax to fund eligible project costs.
- Municipal River Terminal (MRT)
- Located about 1.5 miles north of the Arch, the MRT is a public, general purpose facility that transloads a wide variety of bulk commodities: salt, steel products, pipes, fertilizer, scrap, grain, aluminum ingots, coal, mulch, magnetite, project cargo, etc. It boasts a 2000' dock, 40-acre yard, rail spur into yard, 90K SF warehouse. It is the northern-most lock- and ice-free port on the Mississippi River.
- The Port Authority works with long-term MRT operator, SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals (), to continually upgrade the facility and market its options to national and international shipping interests.
- In concert with SCF, the Port Authority plans and manages MRT construction projects. Rail upgrade now ongoing to allow the MRT to handle unit trains.
Port Director: Susan Taylor, 314.657.3740, firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Project Manager: Roland Comfort, 314.657.3744, email@example.com
Port Commission Meetings and Materials: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/sldc/boards/port-authority-commission.cfm
Current Projects by SLDC and the St. Louis Port Authority
Municipal River Terminal Rail Improvements: Construction Contract, 2020 BUILD grant award, final phase of Rail Upgrade
- Project Cost: approximately $9M; out for bid late 2021.
- Project Schedule: exact scope now being determined.
- US Maritime Administration (MARAD) managing project for US Department of Transportation
Municipal River Terminal Rail Improvements: Engineering Contracts, 2016-2021
- Civil Engineering: Jacobs Engineers, subconsultant ABNA; contract currently ongoing. Scope: technical plans/specs for site grading and drainage plan, floodwall gate improvements; construction documents; assist with construction management.
- Rail Engineers: Design Nine Engineering Services for Railroads and Industry, contract ongoing. Scope: design MRT Access Plan, create technical plans and specs, provide construction management. For SCF, Design9 developed the MRT site plan and overall track layout.
View of south riverfront looking north. From St. Louis, 30-45 barge tows operate downstream and 15-or-fewer barge tows operate upstream. Fleeting areas, like barge parking lots, allow tows to be reconfigured, depending upon origin and destination of goods.