Illinois is the only state of the union that has access to a world-class inland waterway system via four great rivers and the great lakes, a hearty network of major cross-country interstates, robust air freight facilities and numerous ports. These act as hubs connecting all transportation networks.  With currently 19 public port districts and over 350 private terminals along the Illinois, Kaskaskia, Ohio and Mississippi River, as well as Lake Michigan, these ports promote economic development with a total revenue impact to the state of $6.4 billion while supporting over 48,000 jobs. Responsible for more than $81 billion manufactured goods, $37 billion agricultural products and $18 billion chemical products, the ports have a significant economic impact.

Unlike many other states within the maritime network, the ports within Illinois currently receive no regular funding from the state. Funding that would support the economic development activities within the state’s legislative jurisdictions.  Instead, the ports and their facilities must raise their own revenue for projects and compete for the various (and limited) federal grants and financing that is available. The impact ports have on Illinois’ economy is real, and in order for the State of Illinois to thrive and be more competitive, more effort is needed.

The Illinois Ports Association was created by representatives of the public port districts that exist within Illinois. The goal of the association is to provide a collective voice for all our state’s ports and their respective infrastructure and missions which are vital to the economic growth and sustainability of Illinois.  The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that the future freight needs will double over the next 20 years.  Ports will need to deploy significant investment in large-scale capital development projects which leverage the unique transportation assets they have in order to meet these needs.

One of the main goals of the Illinois Ports Association is to be the collective voice and resource to the State regarding port and intermodal freight transportation.  Many of the ports within the state do not have full-time staff dedicated to their operations or even their legislative missions; yet the economic opportunities do not cease to exist just because there are not individuals championing their respective port on a daily basis.

This is one of the reasons the Illinois Ports Association exists today.  Compared to our neighboring states and others on the maritime network, Illinois is lagging behind when it comes to consistent investment and port development.  Given the impact the ports within our state make to the economy today, we can only imagine how the State of Illinois can grow and lead when investment is made into these vital transportation assets.

Want to learn more? Visit the 2018 Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card here. Unlimited opportunities and possibilities exist, turning Illinois into an intermodal transportation powerhouse that drives a global economy.


Illinois Ports Association

Illinois leads the nation in production of soybeans, an important protein source for animals and humans around the world. ISA believes that by working together, we can solve our greatest challenges and positively impact our future. As an organization committed to leading collaborative efforts that bring innovative solutions, this website and the aerial drone footage was made possible from a grant by the Illinois Soybean Association.

contact information

1635 West First Street
Granite City, Illinois 62040