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JEFFERSON CITY – The first phase of a port feasibility study was presented to Cole and Callaway commissioners along with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce Friday.

“Not every place has a river so we need to take advantage of the river we have here,” Randy Allen, President and CEO of the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce, said.

The meeting discussed the early findings of the study including potential site development. The study found by adding a port, less trucks would have to transport goods, leading to less infrastructure issues.

One of the Cole County commissioners, Kris Scheperle, said, “The more product you can ship on the water the less trucks you have shipping stuff on your highways and roads which is a problem with MODOT.”

The two possible locations for a new port include an area between the river and Highway 63 between the Missouri National Guard base and Algoa Correctional Center and an area in Callaway County just south of the Capitol View river access. 

The city is looking at two plans. The first plan includes using only the port north of highway 63, and the second plan would split operations between both presented ports.

The ports would have access to the railroads, access to Highways 54 and 50 for freight movement and access to the Mississippi River and other inland waterways.

The meeting also focused on the potential for job and industry growth.

“We hope it will be a great economic development for our community, bring more jobs and more income and also be an access to ship goods throughout the country and throughout the world," Scheperle said.

He added it may be very minimal on job growth initially, but any time you can bring more industry in your community, you are going to bring more jobs.

The next step will be for the consultants to present costs. After that, Allen said they will primarily need the approval for a port authority, which is approved by the Missouri Department of Transportation. There are 11 current ports in the state now.

Allen said the hope is get approval for a port authority by the beginning of 2018.