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Proposed Jefferson County port facility names developer

  

A proposed port facility in Jefferson County found its lead developer in the Hawtex Development Corporation, moving a project that has captured the attention of the business and agriculture community one step closer to reality. 

The container-on-vessel (COV) facility would occupy 300 acres in Herculaneum, connecting the St. Louis region to the Mississippi River and other shipping destinations. 

Hawtex will work with American Patriot Container Transport, the Jefferson County Port Authority, Riverview Commerce Park (RCP), and other stakeholders to develop the project on land owned by natural resource producer Doe Run Company. 

The facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2024.

“Through this new collaboration with our partners here in Jefferson County, Hawtex is looking forward to leading the development team for the planned facility on the Mississippi River at Herculaneum,” said James Hurley, Hawtex Development Corporation’s president. “We will be leading discussions with RCP and the Doe Run Company principals to complete a comprehensive development agreement beginning early in the new year, and we will be meeting with and confirming service requirements for a number of St. Louis-based and regional beneficial cargo owners throughout Q1 of 2022.”

The project is in its early stages, with final contributions from partners to be determined. 

American Patriot is also developing new vessels for the facility and has issued solicitations with seven shipyards for their construction, it announced Friday. Planned vessels are smaller and can more easily maneuver through the Mississippi River and other bodies of water across the Midwest while it also plans to create larger ships to travel between ports.

With supply chain issues impacting various industries, agriculture and business leaders are taking note of the project as well. 

Half of all U.S. crops and livestock operations are within 500 miles of the area, according to the facility’s partners, and Missouri Soybean CEO Gary Wheeler said the new facility could increase local producers’ reach around the globe.

“Missouri’s river system is an invaluable means of transportation for our state’s number one industry – agriculture. This container-on-vessel service allows our supply chain to remain strong and reliable, delivering products in the most sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective way to end-users,” Wheeler said. “As Missouri’s leader in agricultural exports, our organization and farmers have been involved and invested in American Patriot Holdings to move more product and aid the state’s economy and environment. Our soybean growers understand this immense value and this is why we continue to devote dollars into modernizing our state’s infrastructure.”

Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan previously told The Missouri Times a port system along the Mississippi would be a “game-changer” for the state and the Midwest as a whole, providing new opportunities for long-term financial growth in the St. Louis region and beyond. 

Missouri ranks No. 10 among other states in terms of navigable water with more than 1,050 miles, according to a report compiled by the chamber. The system brings more than $100 billion in revenue into the state annually. 

Supply chain delays are impacting farm equipment, crop protection products, and school lunches, while microchip shortages cause delays from vehicle production to new gaming consoles. 

Gov. Mike Parson established a task force to evaluate solutions to the issue last month, though business groups warned the impact could extend well into next year.