The Port Authority of Winona conducted a brief survey of river users to prepare a report outlining the economic impact of the Winona Commercial Harbor. This survey was conducted in July 2011. This is the second survey conducted with the first occurring in 2004. The Port Authority Survey had a 70% response rate from businesses.
The Mississippi River System
The Mississippi River System stretches over 222 miles in Minnesota and supports five port areas whose combined 2010 waterway transported tonnage was 10.9 million net tons. Minnesota’s largest river tonnage commodities are agricultural products such as corn, soybeans and wheat. The river accounts for over 60% of Minnesota’s agricultural exports. River ports also handle other dry cargo commodities such as coal, fertilizer, minerals, salt, cement, steel products, scrap metals and liquid products including petroleum, caustic soda, vegetable oils and molasses.
The Minnesota River navigational system is maintained by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and dredges the navigation channels and operates the 29 locks on the Upper Mississippi River. The locks serve both the commercial operators and recreational boaters. The commercial barge operators on the river pay for ½ of the cost of major Federal lock construction with a fuel user tax which is now 20 cents per gallon.