Army Corps approves new designation for Iowa’s Mississippi River ports

    Lock and Dam 11 is on the Mississippi River at Dubuque. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has designated Iowa’s Mississippi River barge terminals as part of a new Port Statistical Area.

    The designation, sought by Democratic U.S. Reps. Abby Finkenauer and Dave Loebsack and others, will create the name Mid-American Port for eastern Iowa and western Illinois ports. The new Corn Belt Port statistical area also will include the Illinois Waterways ports and terminals. 

    U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer is a Democrat who represents Iowa’s 1st District. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s office)

    The action affects 50 Iowa barge terminals between Keokuk and Dubuque, and 20 barge terminals in Illinois.

    “This designation from the Corps will mean an economic boost for Iowa, especially in Dubuque and Jackson counties,” Finkenauer said in a statement. 

    Finkenauer and Loebsack in September joined U.S. Reps. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois, and Darin LaHood, R-Illinois, to send a letter requesting expedited approval of the designations.

    The statistical areas are meant to highlight the importance of the Mississippi’s barge industry. The area designated ranks in the top 100 ports in the world based on tonnage shipped, Finkenauer said.

    Perry Beeman
    Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.