The St. Joseph Regional Port Authority has entered into a Lease and Operating Agreement with Transport 360 for the lease of the St. Joseph regional port facility assets and to provide operation, management, marketing for usage, required operating equipment, enhancements, and security.
The St. Joseph Regional Port Authority went through an extensive Request for Proposals process in April and May of 2018, requesting written proposals from interested parties. Three written submittals were received. Following interviews with all submitting entities, the commissioners of the St. Joseph Regional Port Authority selected Transport 360 to enter into negotiations for a written agreement. That agreement was negotiated and approved by the Commissioners on May 31, 2018. The agreement has been signed and is effective June 1, 2018.
Transport 360 will have at least three full-time employees at the port facility on a daily basis, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Transport 360 is a d/b/a of MK Minerals, Inc., in Wathena, Kan. Bill Becker, with MK Minerals and the head of Transport 360, said he began to recognize the opportunities the port facility could offer the region by offering multi-modal transportation opportunities when MK Minerals first inquired about using the rail spur at the port facility.
“Transport 360 looks forward to utilizing and enhancing the port assets and to provide area businesses with a variety of transportation alternatives, including rail and barge, to grow economic commerce in the region,” Becker said. “Many local businesses do not have access to rail at their facilities and the port serves as an economic development asset to foster this opportunity. A company can schedule rail cars, and/or barges, and take advantage of bulk transportation cost savings and have the material transloaded at the port facility and shipped via truck to its local facility.”
Since beginning research on the port, Becker has uncovered a number of business opportunities that Transport 360 is now actively exploring.
Following updates to the port office building and rail track repairs, Transport 360 hopes to have product flowing through the port facility in the July/August timeframe. Much of this time frame is dependent upon the Union Pacific completing the rail track repairs and beginning to service the port. However, staffing and marketing of the port facility will begin as soon as the office building is updated, hopefully by late June. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned later this summer.
“All in all, a very good partnership is being formed,” said Brad Lau, of the Port Authority and the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “We are excited to see, with Bill Becker’s leadership and commitment, the progress Transport 360 will make in utilizing the port’s assets and growing the commerce of the port. From an economic development perspective, we are very encouraged with the opportunities having a functioning port can offer existing businesses without rail access, as well as possible barge options, through use of the port facility.”
For more information, please contact Bill Becker with Transport 360 at (785) 741-5343.