Friday, January 19, 2024

A rising tide of infrastructure funding floats new hope for Great Lakes shipping

In Chicago's South Side, where barbed wire gleams,
A port awaits, alive with vibrant schemes.
Iroquois Landing, an industrious hive,
Where ships unload, as winter freeze arrives.

But further down the Calumet River's run,
A vast expanse of water sits, near none.
Grain silos and rusty ships, remnants old,
Where Midwest's bounty once was bought and sold.

Coal's decline, steel production shifting course,
The ports must find new cargoes to endorse.
Inland shipping with cargo ships they see,
A chance to revitalize the industry.

Highways are limited, their space confined,
To Great Lakes' shores, their eyes are now aligned.
Joseph of DePaul nods his sage assent,
"Truck drivers scarce, railroads at max extent."

The Biden administration has decreed,
$17 billion for maritime's need.
The Illinois port seeks a fresh start,
Capital improvements to fund in part.

But crumbling infrastructure poses threat,
Half of the dock wall into the river met.
No crane can stand, caution tape marks the space,
Dreams of new cargo ships frozen in place.

Elsewhere, Ports of Cleveland and Monroe reap,
Funding for intermodal ports to keep.
Containers lifted, products high in worth,
Pharmaceuticals and machinery's birth.

Mustangs from Michigan may find their way,
To Europe's shores, where they're sought to display.
The Great Lakes ports seek seamless connection,
Train to ship, vise versa, with affection.

Chicago's bottleneck, a massive blockade,
A need for ease, congestion must be laid.
Underutilized, the port lies in wait,
A solution yearns, to cut through the freight.

Waterborne shipping offers a reprieve,
Efficiency and cost, it can achieve.
Sea Point Group's analysis avows,
Fuel costs decreased by more than forty vows.

Climate goals await by 2040's reign,
Water transport could alleviate strain.
Wind turbine components, ships transport well,
Hydrogen fuel's promise, only time will tell.

But environmentalists raise their voice,
The Great Lakes' ecosystem faces choice.
Invasive species, brought by ships of trade,
Threaten the waters, a high price is paid.

Zebra mussels, a scourge upon the lakes,
Damaging plants and infrastructure breaks.
Environmental plans are put to test,
But still, some concerns leave activists stressed.

Inland shipping's inefficiency lurks,
Frozen locks and canals, labor it quirks.
Logistics companies may not find it grand,
To navigate the waters, frozen land.

Yet hope still sings, the Great Lakes can extend,
Shipping seasons beyond what's safe to send.
Funding for icebreakers, the Coast Guard shares,
And Soo Locks expansion, shipping prepares.

The waterways regain attention's gaze,
Jobs and growth in the local economy blaze.
With rising tide of funding hope's reborn,
Great Lakes shipping sets its sights, reborn.

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