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Build MO Week Will Drive Home Statewide Transportation Needs and Workforce Diversity Priorities

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS & REVIEW MAGAZINE 

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri, Southern Illinois Builders Association and St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council want industry players to know that October 1-5 is Build MO Week, an annual celebration of all who contribute to St. Louis’ built environment.

Ken Simonson, chief economist of the AGC, will be sharing data-driven perspectives on the economic impact of construction across the St. Louis region and the nation at a luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Missouri Athletic Club. AGC MO President Len Toenjes said the event is co-sponsored by SIBA, AGC MO’s east side counterpart.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, AGC MO and The Road Information Program (TRIP) – a D.C.-based nonprofit surface transportation advocacy organization – will both be hitting the road to present press conferences in Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia about pressing construction and transportation issues including the condition of roads and bridges across Missouri. The program is entitled “Missouri Transportation by the Numbers.” For more information on locations and times, contact the AGC MO at (314) 781-2356.

“AGC MO will speak to construction and TRIP will speak to infrastructural needs across our state,” said Toenjes. “As far as Build MO Week is concerned, our message is one that crosses all construction sectors. Whether it’s hospitality, infrastructure, education, health care or just the overall impact that our industry has on the state – on economic development, workforce development, quality of life and job creation – this is a real opportunity for all of us to help the public understand what our industry is all about. Even though construction is all around us, it’s like the air or the tap water…we tend to take it for granted. Every so often, it’s incumbent on us to take the time to recognize the hard work of talented people who make these projects happen.”

Both Toenjes and St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer John Stiffler are hoping the educational outreach and recruitment facets of Build MO Week will also draw attention to solid career opportunities available to those who choose to work in construction.

Stiffler will be speaking in multiple venues next week for Build MO Week, including at the first-ever State of the Program Meeting for the Building Union Diversity Program (BUD) on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the United Way of Greater St. Louis. United Way is a partner in the 5-week construction career exploration program that is wrapping up its 4th year in operation. “We’ve graduated 14 classes since its inception, with an 87 percent graduation rate and an 87 percent job placement rate,” said Stiffler. “Our goal is to continue recruiting more young women and African Americans into the construction trades so that our construction workforce more closely resembles the communities that we serve,” he added. “We welcome all interested individuals to attend this (midday) meeting, which will include our recruitment and placement outcomes, our efforts in client support services, partnership expansion and resource development. We’ve been taking baby steps, but we’re doing it and we’re committed to removing barriers which prevent women and minorities from succeeding in rewarding construction careers.”

To RSVP for the Building Council’s BUD Program lunch on Oct. 3, RSVP no later than Monday, Oct. 1 by calling (314) 303-6082.

Home Builders Association Funds Annual Ranken Technical College $1,000 Scholarship

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On behalf of the Home Building Industry Advancement Fund (HBIAF), HBIAF Chair Kevin Deptula of Builder’s Bloc (left) and 2018 HBA President Dale Black of CMS Homes (right) presented a $1,000 donation to Tony Pisciotta, director of institutional advancement for Ranken Technical College. The funds will be used for an annual scholarship that will help defray tuition costs for a student in one of Ranken’s construction programs.

Ranken Technical College is a private, nonprofit, degree-granting institution of higher learning whose primary mission is to provide the comprehensive education and training necessary to prepare students for employment and advancement in a variety of technical fields.

The HBA is a local trade association of more than 600 member-firms representing the residential construction industry.

M Property Services, NorthSide Regeneration Challenge

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St. Louis City High School Students to Design for Autonomous Vehicle

For the past five years, M Property Services, LLC, along with NorthSide Regeneration, has sponsored a Project Design Challenge to expose St. Louis area youth to the fields of architecture, engineering, urban planning and construction. In 2018, high school students from public, private and charter schools throughout St. Louis City were challenged with “Planning for the Autonomous Vehicle in NorthSide Regeneration.”

NorthSide Regeneration is an urban, mixed-use community being developed by M Property Services that encompasses over 1,500 acres in North St. Louis City.

The challenge began in January with each team assigned a mentor – a professional in the field of architecture or engineering who would help guide them through the creative and design process. The deadline for project submissions was April 13.

On April 21, all teams were given 25 minutes to orally present their project, then answer questions to a six-person jury, which included Don Koster, Senior Lecturer at Washington University and Design Practice Leader at Arcturis; Paul Whitson, Regional Leader of Healthcare at HOK; St. Louis City Alderwoman Marlene Davis, Ward 19; Darryl Piggee, attorney at Stone, Leyton & Gershman, P.C.; William Laskowsky, Chief Development Officer at M Property Services; and Paul McKee, Chairman at M Property Services and owner of NorthSide Regeneration.

“We are so proud of the efforts that all of the students put forth in this year’s challenge. Many times, students surpass our expectations, even introducing the professionals to products that they were not aware of and designs that are innovative and unexpected. This year was no exception,” said Laskowsky.

The jury deliberated and chose Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, with all other teams earning an Honorable Mention. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony on April 30 at the Engineers’ Club of St. Louis.Six-time Olympic medalist and East St. Louis native Jackie Joyner-Kersee presented the awards. Dr. Elizabeth Bender, Associate Superintendent of College and Career Readiness at St. Louis Public Schools, was the speaker for the evening.

2018 Project Design Award Winners and Honorable Mentions:

  • Gold – McKinley Classical Leadership Academy (teacher: Matthew Rosado, mentors: Amy Phillips and Decorda McGee)
  • Silver – St. Mary’s High School
  • Bronze – Gateway STEM High School
  • Honorable Mentions – Vashon High School and four teams from St. Mary’s High School

The challenge is coordinated each year by Karen Bahr, Executive Assistant at M Property Services. Over the past five years, approximately 285 students from 55 teams representing nine schools (CCC, Roosevelt, St. Mary’s, Metro, Gateway, McKinley, Vashon, Cleveland and Carnahan) and 34 mentors have participated in the Project Design Challenge. Past challenges include, “Neighborhood Entry Marker”, “Urban Park”, “Neighborhood Streetscape” and “Parking Lot of the 21st Century”.

Founded in 1990, M Property Services, LLC (MPS) is a full-service real estate development, property management and brokerage firm based in O’Fallon, MO. At the core of every MPS development is the concept of LifeWorks® – the creation of master-planned environments that are attuned to the needs and aspirations of the total person, providing opportunities for individuals to live, learn, work, play and pray. For more information about M Property Services, visit www.mps-stl.com. 

Photo by M Property Services. Six-time Olympic medalist and East St. Louis native Jackie Joyner-Kersee (far right) poses with the Gold Medal team from McKinley Classical Leadership Academy.

PARIC and OSHA Cement First Large-Scale Project Safety Partnership

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS & REVIEW MAGAZINE

PARIC Corp. is among a bevy of construction managers across St. Louis to cement project safety partnerships with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

PARIC Safety Director Shannon Niles says for five years now, the construction company has joined with more than a dozen Missouri-based commercial contractors in partnerships with OSHA on all sizes of projects throughout the state.

But the newest project partnership, forged in mid-2018, is the first large-scale agreement PARIC has signed with OSHA to govern a project as large in scope as Ballpark Village. The worker safety partnership covers safety-related aspects of all ongoing Ballpark Village projects in downtown St. Louis, for which PARIC serves as general contractor. The four construction projects connected with Ballpark Village span 550,000 square feet of construction including residential, office, retail, restaurant, hotel and entertainment space adjacent to Busch Stadium.

“This strategic partnership with OSHA is unique to Ballpark Village and unique to PARIC as well,” Niles said. “Projects that are longer than two years in duration are eligible for this voluntarily agreement with OSHA. This partnership agreement brings the owner (The Cordish Companies), the building trades (Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity, Eastern Missouri Laborers’ District Council, Building and Construction Trades) and other parties together in striving to create the safest workplace possible.”

PARIC and OSHA negotiated contract particulars, signing the agreement in May. Niles says the scope of the partnership agreement requires project partners to go above and beyond standard safety regulations as stipulated by OSHA.

“We’re committing to meeting and exceeding all OSHA safety regulations, while also inviting OSHA onto the Ballpark Village construction site anytime with a minimum of once per quarter,” Niles said. “In addition, we’ve agreed to keep our safety-related worker statistics – such as the project’s lost-time incident rates, DART (days away, restricted or transferred) rates and TRIR (total recordable incident rates) – below the national average. This partnership with OSHA also includes our commitment to perform training for our employees and subcontractors beyond what is normally required by OSHA,” he said. “We’ve agreed in writing to do whatever it takes to keep every worker as safe as possible in building Ballpark Village.”

Photo Above (L to R) Rallo Sr., Senior Vice President, PARIC , John Stiffler, Executive Secretary/Treasurer, Building & Construction Trades, Nate Moore, Sr Project Manager, PARIC, Charlie Lee, Cordish Company Inc., Shannon Niles, Safety Director, PARIC, William McDonald, Area Director of OSHA, Gary Elliot, Business Manager, Special International Representative, Barry Stelzer, Safety Director/Trainer, Carpenters Regional Council, Tim Vaughan, Project Director, PARIC

Area Residents Invited to Celebrate Expanded Fee Fee Greenway

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Community can tour the paved path that connects Maryland Heights Community Center, McKelvey Woods and Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park  

Great Rivers Greenway, the City of Maryland Heights and Saint Louis County Parks invite area residents to celebrate the newest segment of the Fee Fee Greenway at a lunchtime picnic and ribbon cutting being held on Friday, Oct. 5, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park. The event will take place at the new trailhead, located near the disc golf course across the road from Sailboat Cove (13725 Marine Ave., Maryland Heights, MO 63146).

The project extends the existing 0.8-mile paved greenway an additional 2.2 miles from McKelvey Woods, creating a continuous three-mile paved connection between the Maryland Heights Community Center (trailhead located near Dogport and Aquaport) and Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park. It also makes it possible for people to continue their walk or bike ride through the park to the Creve Coeur Connector trail and allow them to cross over the Missouri River to connect to the KATY Trail and Centennial Greenway in St. Charles County. These connections enable access to the St. Charles County Heritage Museum and the ability to cross over Highways 364 and 94 in St. Charles County. In total, the new Fee Fee Greenway segment helps to create nearly 16 continuous miles of paved routes for walking and biking.

On Friday, Oct. 5, project partners, contractors, area residents and elected officials will officially open the new greenway with a ribbon cutting at the new trailhead. Originally planned for June 14, the event was canceled due to thunderstorms. The rescheduled celebration will include yard games, music, bring-your-own-picnic-lunch and a walk or bike ride along the greenway. Guest speakers will begin addressing the crowd at approximately 11:15 a.m., followed by the ribbon cutting at 11:45 a.m.

“The expanded Fee Fee Greenway has been embraced by not only the people who live and work in Maryland Heights, but also people across the region,” said Tracey Anderson, City of Maryland Heights Director of Parks and Recreation. “We didn’t want a little rain to stop us from officially celebrating this new connection. We encourage the community to join us on October 5 to enjoy a lunchtime picnic and some fresh air on the expanded Fee Fee Greenway.”

The new segment includes a 78-foot-long pedestrian bridge over Fee Fee Creek and a nearly 1,000-foot-long “living wall.” The purpose of the living wall system is to help capture the storm water that drains off the paved surface, reducing the impact on nearby creeks and streams. It will also provide habitat for wildlife and insects. Several hundred new native trees, shrubs, sedges and flowers were also planted along the two-mile extension to restore and boost the native ecology of the greenway.

“This project is a powerful example of how greenways connect us to our rivers, parks, communities and each other,” said Susan Trautman, CEO of Great Rivers Greenway. “By extending the Fee Fee Greenway just two miles, we’ve created a vital link between existing trails and amenities so people can get exercise and fresh air while exploring a wonderful natural area.”

For more information about the expanded Fee Fee Greenway and other greenways throughout the St. Louis area, visit www.GreatRiversGreenway.org.

Great Rivers Greenway makes the St. Louis region a more vibrant place to live, work and play by developing a regional network of greenways. Great Rivers Greenway is the public agency collaborating with partners and communities to build, care for and bring to life your network of greenways, creating healthy habitats and watersheds along the way. With 117 miles built and counting, visit www.GreatRiversGreenway.org for more information.

KAI Design & Build to Construct Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis Teen Center of Excellence in Ferguson, MO

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Inspiring groundbreaking ceremony held on Sept. 13

The sun was shining and so were the spirits of all who gathered to break ground on Sept. 13 for the new Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis Teen Center of Excellence in Ferguson, MO. The event marked a time of renewal for the area which gained national attention in 2014 for violent protests following the fatal police shooting of teen Michael Brown.

The $12.4 million Teen Center of Excellence, under construction at 9200 West Florissant, will offer afterschool and summer programs to youth ages 12-18 in the North St. Louis County area.

KAI Design & Build has been selected as the general contractor for the project, which is expected to open in time for the 2019-20 school year and is one of the first of its kind in the country. The architect on the project is Arcturis of St. Louis, MO.

“KAI is ready to build this facility for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. This is a much-needed community asset in North St. Louis County,” said KAI Design & Build President Michael Kennedy, Jr. “It wouldn’t have been possible without a region that is committed to creating positive change in Ferguson. I am really proud of what the private and corporate community is doing to make this facility a reality.”

The 26,856-square-foot, three-level center will provide a safe place for area youth to gather and participate in a variety of activities. Designs for the facility include a nutrition education center, gym, teen lounge, outdoor garden, auditorium, music and art studio, office space, intellectual commons, innovation center, and outdoor basketball and activity court.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis has a 50-plus-year track record of success in the St. Louis region as a youth services provider and will implement nationally acclaimed programs at the new Teen Center similar to those offered in the ten locations it presently operates (seven of which are located in North County). Programming will include an emphasis on health and wellness (such as yoga, healthy habits, open gym), education and workforce development (such as college tours, ACT/SAT prep, tutoring), STEAM (such as coding, app creation, robotics) and leadership and civic engagement (such as fine and performing arts, community service, applied arts).

“Building a Boys & Girls Club in the Ferguson area will produce positive outcomes in a community that has been subsumed with difficult realities and negative images. Adding a successful youth focused organization into Ferguson like Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, which has a long track record of success, can bolster young people’s attitudes and give them a sense of hope. A new club will enrich our children’s lives and the city by helping its youth build strong character, graduate from high school with a plan for life, and become productive citizens,” said Dr. Flint Fowler, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis President.

About KAI Design & Build

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. A renowned leader in the industry, KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through collaboration, technology, processes and expertise. Since its inception in 1980, KAI has been instrumental in reshaping the urban environment through its expertise in housing, K-12 schools, transit facilities, collegiate structures, commercial buildings, sports and recreational facilities, government/justice centers and healthcare buildings. Beginning as an architectural design firm, KAI added mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineering to give clients a full package of in-house disciplines for their projects. Today, KAI continues with its original core service of design and has quickly grown its construction management group since 1997. Additionally, KAI is a leader in Building Information Modeling (BIM), applying the skill set to architectural, engineering and construction projects firm-wide. KAI’s affiliate locations include Atlanta, Omaha, Dallas and San Antonio. For more information about KAI Design & Build, visit www.kai-db.com or call 314-241-8188.

 

Poettker Construction’s Golf Classic Raises $15,000 For Big Brothers Big Sisters

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Poettker-BBBS Golf Committee (2018)

Poettker Construction Company (Poettker) along with its business partners donated $15,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois (BBBS) from proceeds raised at the 2018 Poettker Golf Classic “Building Children’s Futures”, which was held on July 27, 2018 at Governors Run Golf Course in Carlyle, Ill.

“We sincerely appreciate the support we received from our friends, business partners, sponsors and participants of this event! This annual event gives us a chance to give back to the community which we have been a part of for 38 years”, said Kevin Poettker, BBBS Board Member and Director of Business Development for Poettker Construction Company.

Proceeds from the tournament will be used to support BBBS’s mission to help children realize their potential and build their futures.  Since 1980, BBBS of Southwestern Illinois has provided mentors for more than 500 youth facing adversity in Clinton, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair Counties.

“Congratulations on a successful tournament! Everything was well organized and folks had a great time”, said Barbara Cempura, Interim President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois.  To learn more about BBBS of Southwestern Illinois, visit www.bbbsil.org/.

Thank you Poettker and BBBS golf committee members and volunteers for your  time and commitment to this event.

Founded in 1980, Poettker Construction Company of Breese is a second generation family-owned and veteran-owned business that focuses on building strong relationships while providing construction management, design-build, and general contracting services.  More information is available at www.poettkerconstruction.com.

Photo #1: Check presentation (L to R) Kevin Poettker, BBBS Board Member and Director of Business Development for Poettker Construction Company, Olivia Koch, Administrative Assistant for Poettker Construction Company, Barbara Cempura, Interim President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois, Keith Poettker, President of Poettker Construction Company, Kim Luitjohan, Vice President of Finance for Poettker Construction Company

 

Materials Advances Promoting Jobsite Efficiency Across St. Louis

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By KERRY SMITH, Editor, St. Louis Construction News & Review Magazine

Advances in building materials are enabling specialty contractors to work even more efficiently and seamlessly with contractors and their subs on the job site.

St. Louis-based Superior Waterproofing & Restoration Co. Inc. President and Owner Tom Schmitt says that as commercial building materials evolve and improve at the speed of light, so do the methods by which they’re applied and installed.

“We cross over as a specialty contractor,” said Schmitt. “For example, although we don’t work in roofing, we do work with fluid-applieds…we do green roofs, and so do the roofers, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Local 2.”

In terms of skill sets, the expertise it takes to create a foundation – a horizontal slab under the ground covered with dirt – is essentially the same talent that is needed to install a roof, Schmitt says.

“We define ourselves as a specialty contractor,” he said. “We routinely do fluid-applied balconies and elevated parking decks, the latter of which is basically a roof that you’re able to drive on. The way designs are these days – and in light of all the advances in building materials – it’s possible for several different trades and specialty subs to overlap as to whom is capable of performing a specific task. With regard to who does what work, it has really gotten more confusing. But it has also afforded building owners an opportunity for their projects to move forward, stay on track and stay within budget, regardless of how tight the St. Louis construction workforce is at any given time,” he added.

Whereas in the past a company such as Superior Waterproofing & Restoration would self-perform tasks involving roll-ons, fluid-applieds and peels-and-sticks, Schmitt says these days most construction managers assign the task to subcontractors to avoid confusion and congestion on the job site.

“Various trades including the carpenters, painters and bricklayers are generally the ones getting in there and performing this type of work,” Schmitt said, “with the exception of the EIFS (exterior insulation and finishing system) people. They generally perform their own work because there are big warranties involved with it. Pretty much whatever trade claims the work depends upon what material is going on.”

Efforts to Bring Container on Vessel Service to the St. Louis Region Picking Up Speed

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Innovative waterway vessel will deliver significant transportation savings for shippers while revolutionizing freight movement on the Mississippi River  

Plans to transport freight via innovative waterway vessels will revolutionize the inland waterway system and provide significant transportation cost savings for shippers, especially those accessing the Midwest by utilizing the Mississippi River and its tributaries, according to Sal Litrico, CEO for American Patriot Container Transport, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Patriot Holdings LLC.

Litrico presented information about Container on Vessel (COV) innovations at two St. Louis Regional Freightway Industry Forums in late August in St. Louis, Missouri, sponsored by America’s Central Port, the Jefferson County Port Authority, Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District, and Riverview Commerce Park, LLC. Litrico said shippers could potentially save between 30 to 40 percent versus other intermodal alternatives by using patented vessels capable of carrying mass quantities of containerized freight on an all-water route connecting ports in the St. Louis region and other ports in the Midwest to the lower Mississippi River, and ultimately to Asia, Europe and other foreign ports. Litrico said those projected savings would come without compromising the necessary levels of frequency and reliability. Stakeholders from all modes of the freight industry and the agriculture industry learned more at the St. Louis Regional Freightway Industry Forums from Litrico and others about plans for COV shipments coming to the Midwest.

The expansion of the Panama Canal opened the door to an all-water route into the Midwest. The widened canal can accommodate larger vessels (from 5,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) to 18,000 TEU) whereas, previously, 60 percent of ocean going vessels could not fit through the canal. With the additional travel time to the Gulf Coast offset by congestion-related delays and longer dwell times at the West Coast ports, shippers now have a viable and efficient alternate route. That new all-water route for bigger vessels to access the heartland of America via the planned Plaquemines Port container terminal provides economies of scale which permits deeper market penetration into the United States from the Gulf Coast, eroding cost advantages previously associated with the East and West Coasts.

“Cargo flows to the lowest cost, most efficient route, so all we had to do was build the lowest cost, most efficient route,” said Sandy Sanders, Executive Director of the Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District (PPHTD). PPHTD has Memorandums of Understanding in place with the St. Louis Regional Freightway and various ports in the St. Louis region and throughout the Midwest, as well as an agreement with innovative marine transportation leader American Patriot Holdings LLC (APH).  “We’re going to revolutionize onward movement of cargo to the Midwest and from the Midwest to the world, utilizing the first interstate highway, the inland waterway system,” Sanders added.

Sanders and Litrico said the goal is to develop a hub-and-spoke transportation system for container transport vessel shipments from Plaquemines, at mile 50-55 on the Mississippi River south of New Orleans, to Midwest markets, which represent 40 percent of U.S. land area and 15 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product or GDP.

They view this COV approach as a way to move a critical mass of containerized product significantly faster than Container on Barge (COB), resulting in lower landed transportation costs. This insight indicates just how significant the cost savings could be for this new waterway transportation alternative that also would deliver many other benefits, including improved reliability, enhanced operational safety and reduced environmental impact.

The specialized APH vessels that would be used to provide the COV service have patented features enabling high cargo payload and unprecedented upriver speeds. APH’s Liner vessel will carry up to 2,500 containers at speeds of 13 miles per hour with virtually no wake, making round trips from Plaquemines to the St. Louis region possible in 10 days, significantly faster than other options. In contrast, COB transport, which moves at between 4 to 5 miles per hour on upriver trips, takes from 20 to 24 days of total transportation time. Despite the additional days of ocean carrier transit time from Asia to the U.S. Gulf Coast versus Los Angeles-Long Beach, the estimated net transportation time to St. Louis regional shippers is indistinguishable due to intermodal delays  and West Coast dwell and delay times.  Growth at the combined Los Angeles-Long Beach ports is anticipated to increase from 16 million TEU in 2017 to 40 million TEU in 2030 said another presenter, Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition.

APH’s Hybrid vessels would be a little smaller and more nimble, so that in addition to making direct trips between the Port of Plaquemines and Midwest ports along the Mississippi, they would also connect with other ports on the tributary rivers above the locks and dams, picking up additional freight and supporting the hub and spoke system. APH anticipates today’s COB services would also support the system as a feeder vessel. Final engineering and designs are underway for the innovative APH vessels which recently completed model testing in Germany.

Sanders said the new multimodal gateway terminal being built at the Port of Plaquemines would be capable of servicing the largest ocean carriers (20,000+ TEU) and could accommodate eight unit trains right up to the dock, in contrast to other large ports where one unit train would have to be cut three times to get through the yard. The new terminal will feature modern terminal technology to expedite container throughput and be served by 15 150-gauge cranes. Sanders also talked about recently securing permission at an adjacent naval airport for cargo planes to land.

With the ability to handle so much cargo mass between the vessels, the gateway terminal, and additional terminals envisioned at Midwest ports, such as the Jefferson County Port just south of St. Louis, the all-water route from Asia, and other foreign ports, to the Midwest will significantly reduce shippers landed transportation costs versus rail and truck costs from other gateway ports. Litrico said a recent study indicates those savings would range from at least 30 percent for products being exported to 40 percent for imports, compared to shipping product to or from the Los Angeles-Long Beach ports to the Midwest via rail.

“Our mode of transportation is the principal driver of the savings,” Litrico added.  “It’s about critical mass, speed, optimizing logistics, vertical integration and providing the lowest landed transportation costs.”

“What excites me about the APH model is that it allows these farmers to engage in the international marketplace without having to have huge economies of scale,” said Steenhoek. He added, “A supply chain is more viable if you can have a robust inbound movement and a robust outbound movement. It’s encouraging that there’s so much interest from non-ag industries in this alternative.”

“Located at the multimodal crossroads of America, the St. Louis region is recognized as a leader in transportation,” Dennis Wilmsmeyer said. Wilmsmeyer is the executive director of America’s Central Port. “But those of us trying to get a piece of the projected growth in freight volumes need to get creative. Freight needs to find the lowest cost alternative, and the containerization of various products, ranging from tires and scrap metal to agriculture products, such as specialized soy beans, is part of the solution.”

“The key to success,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Director of the St. Louis Regional Freightway, “is going to be the integration of all modes of transportation and building the partnerships to jointly create the volume needed to support this new option to transport freight. It’s an innovative alternative that offers reliability, efficiency, cargo flexibility, sustainability, and a competitive price advantage. We are starting to engage with shippers and carriers to let them know about this new option.”

Ultimately, the world-class multimodal network in the St. Louis region helped it fit into the developing plans but given the need to create the volume required to make the service viable, partnerships with other ports in other Midwest regions is essential for success. Those partnerships are being forged and representatives from ports in Memphis, Kansas City, which are also in discussions with American Patriot Holdings, attended the recent St. Louis Regional Freightway Industry Forums along with representatives from ports in the St. Louis region. Similar events to update cargo owners, shippers, carriers and leaders in the freight and agricultural industries are planned, a clear indication that competitors recognize that the power of collaboration may be the key to success for this particular initiative as they work together create the volume needed to support the service.

“This type of program can really give us a visible implementation of the system which will make the Mississippi River and its tributaries a power house. It will literally be another Gulf Coast,” said Randy Richardson, Executive Director of the Memphis and Shelby County Port Commission. “Then we have a physical, tangible point to say this is a system and it needs to be funded as a system, and we need to look at it that way in congress and then we will have infinitely more power.”  Richardson attended the St. Louis Regional Freightway Industry Forum and shared his comments during the question and answer portion of the program.

Sanders and Litrico’s next step to advance the COV effort is continuing to line up cargo for the return trips, the trips back down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. To that end, the STC/ISA (Soy Transportation Coalition/Illinois Soy Association) which represents 13 states and 85 percent of the soy production in the U.S. just completed a third party study. The study, conducted by Informa economics, evaluated grain exports from the Midwest utilizing the APH/PPHTD all-water route to Asia versus intermodal to the West Coast. The study concluded the all-water routing demonstrated significant savings.  The full report and its findings will available on STC’s website within the next few weeks.

About St. Louis Regional Freightway

The St. Louis Regional Freightway is a Bi-State Development enterprise formed to create a regional freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in Illinois and Missouri which comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. Public sector and private industry businesses are partnering with the St. Louis Regional Freightway to establish the bi-state region as one of the premier multimodal freight hubs and distribution centers in the United States through marketing, public advocacy, and freight and infrastructure development.  To learn more, visit thefreightway.com.

Citizens For Modern Transit Recognizes “Champions Of Transit” At Its 34th Annual Meeting

in Associations/News

As part of its 34th annual meeting, Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) recently celebrated the incredible efforts of several individuals for their exemplary commitment to championing transit in the St. Louis area. During the event, which was held last week, CMT presented awards to City of St. Louis Alderman Terry Kennedy, City of St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards, St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson, City of St. Louis Alderman Joe Roddy and former CMT Board Chair Rose Windmiller. Recipients were recognized for their ongoing commitment to moving transit forward in the St. Louis area.

L to R: Kim Cella, Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit; Jimmie Edwards, City of St. Louis Public Safety Director; Sherriff Rick Watson, St. Clair County Sherriff’s Department; June McAllister Fowler, Chair of Citizens for Modern Transit’s Board of Directors. Not pictured is Terry Kennedy, City of St. Louis Alderman (Ward 18).

City of St. Louis Alderman (Ward 18) Terry Kennedy, City of St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards and St. Clair County Sherriff Rick Watson were recognized with a 2018 New Initiatives Award for a new collaborative effort to help further the safety and security of MetroLink on both sides of the Mississippi River. Through their efforts, bills were passed to support a mutual aid agreement between the City of St. Louis Police Department and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department to expand patrols in St. Clair County to MetroLink stations in St. Louis City, giving officers the opportunity to provide more seamless coverage of the system.

L to R: Kim Cella, Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit; Joe Roddy, City of St. Louis Alderman (Ward 17); June McAllister Fowler, Chair of Citizens for Modern Transit’s Board of Directors

The 2018 Chairman’s Award was presented to St. Louis Alderman (Ward 17) Joe Roddy for his vision, foresight and leadership associated with the development of the new Cortex MetroLink Station, which opened to the public on July 31. He understood the importance of an infill station and helped build positive momentum, excitement and grassroots support to put this project into motion nearly a decade ago.

L to R: Kim Cella, Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit and Rose Windmiller, former Citizens for Modern Transit Board Chair and current member of Bi-State Development’s Board of Commissioners.

Former Citizens for Modern Transit Board Chair Rose Windmiller was also honored with the 2018 Service Award for her longtime service to the organization, which spanned more than 20 years. Under her leadership, CMT spearheaded the feasibility study for the Cortex Station, ensured transit was a key component of the Forward through Ferguson discussions, secured millions in funding for ridership programming, improved security on the system and much more.

For more information about Citizens for Modern Transit, visit www.cmt-stl.org or call (314) 231-7272. You can also find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @cmt_stl.

Citizens for Modern Transit is a not-for-profit organization in St. Louis whose mission is to expand the light rail system in order to build more sustainable, accessible communities in the region. 

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