Port of Indiana – Burns Harbor Delivers ‘Great Economics’ with Innovative Business Model!

Rick Heimann


As the Port of Indiana – BurnsHarbor starts its 46th season, many people may not realize its ongoing success is linked to an innovative business model.  “This port operates as part of a unique statewide business enterprise that allows it to flourish today without public tax support,” said Rick Heimann, port director. Operated by the Ports of Indiana, a state-wide port authority that manages Indiana’s three ports, this facility opened in 1970 and contributes $4.3 billion per year to the regional economy.  Along with Indiana’s two Ohio River ports, the Port of Indiana – Burns Harbor implements an entrepreneurial strategy that allows the port to reinvest revenues generated from leases and user fees into maintaining all port infrastructure, and grows these ports without the need for state appropriations, property taxes, TIF funding or other local tax support. Since 2007, the Ports of Indiana has invested $42 million into new docks, sewers, railroad tracks, roadways, utilities and other public infrastructure projects in each of its port communities. “Our primary focus is to provide Indiana with a world-class, self-sustaining port system that has the infrastructure Indiana needs to attract new investments and reach global markets,” said Jody Peacock, vice president. “Indiana’s port model has received national recognition as many ports require public subsidies from state or local taxes to maintain their maritime facilities.” In addition to handling over 100 ships each year, the port provides year-round river barge connections to 22 states and the Gulf of Mexico.

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