LOGISTICS (CLS)

Cross Lake Shipping

Port and logistic officials from Michigan and Wisconsin believe there is significant strategic value to bring together the transportation leadership of both states to formalize a plan to commence scheduled cross lake shipping between the Ports of Muskegon and Milwaukee to include restoration of intermodal service at the Port of Milwaukee.

In doing so the businesses in both states will lower supply chain and logistics costs including the agriculture and food processing sectors. In addition, this strategy will lead to significant environmental and sustainability opportunities for both states with the reduction in truck roadway use resulting in lower emissions, reduced fuel consumption, highway degradation impacts, and potentially increased safety. By leveraging key stakeholders in both Wisconsin and Michigan, including major third party freight forwarders who are becoming engaged, port and logistic officials from both states believe Lake Michigan Cross Lake Shipping can become the “fastest, most competitive, safest, and greenest shipping lane.”

Eco Ships, a Michigan based startup company, has been identified as the potential shipping company to operate the cross lake service with the potential of providing scheduled and demand service between the Port of Muskegon and Port of Milwaukee, as well as, other ports throughout the Great Lakes. The Eco Ships container concept calls for an offshore supply vessel (OSV) with a 90 to 120 TEU capacity to complete two to three crossings per day throughout the year. The vessel will call regularly on the ports of Milwaukee and Muskegon offering trans-lake container service and link Michigan shippers to the Asian market via rail from Milwaukee to ocean container terminals in Canada including Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

West Michigan and Muskegon in particular are well positioned to link the food processing industry with markets throughout the world. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development cites that every $1 in export activity generates another $2.93 in economic activity, meaning Michigan’s total agriculture exports of $2.8 billion have a local impact of an additional $8.2 billion. The Region’s highway, air, rail, and water transportation access is second to none with the majority of the logistics infrastructure already in place to serve the needs of the food processing sector locally and across the globe.