Wisconsin’s marine freight system is a tremendous asset for both a strong economy as well as a healthy environment in the state. Research coming out of the National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is helping multiple organizations and agencies target priority projects as they create and implement plans for the state’s freight infrastructure and economic development. Top among the priority projects identified were the state’s Marine Highways as well as repairs and upgrades to key ports.
“One of the things our research demonstrates is that our Marine Highway system is vital to supporting the growth we will be seeing in freight across Wisconsin over the next two decades and beyond,” said Ernest Perry, PhD, CFIRE researcher and Principal Investigator of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Development Initiative (WCPDI). “Investments in our Marine Highways and our ports benefit our state in a number of ways from creating high-value jobs to mitigating the environmental effects of moving freight. Our data show that this is a great place to focus if we’re interested in supporting our manufacturers, producers, and shippers.”
Recently, the WCPDI released its report, “Leveraging our Comparative Advantage, Phase II: Identification and Development of Wisconsin Port Market Scenarios.” Taking a phased approach, the initiative has the goal of increasing freight movement and developing logistics at Wisconsin commercial ports. With this development, the state will see increases in employment and economic development. Additionally, the initiative is creating opportunities for increased cooperation and collaboration among the ports within the state and with ports in neighboring states.