River connections help enrich Minnesota producers in two ways.
First, having a port city like Saint Paul more than 1,300 miles inland provides significant marketing opportunities for heartland agricultural producers. Our shipping terminals — Barge Terminals 1 and 2, Southport and Red Rock — are a critical link in a highly sophisticated true Intermodal Freight Transportation System. Second, Minnesota’s inland water transportation industry directly generated hundreds of jobs and more than $4 million in payroll in taxes to the federal and state governments.
In Minnesota, agriculture and its related industries currently employ one in every four workers and are responsible for nearly 20 percent of the gross state product. River shipping provides one of the most efficient methods of bulk commodities transport. If the rail system had to move all the grain and oil seeds that are transported on the Mississippi River system in one year, an additional 122,000 rail cars and over 1,000 locomotives would be needed.