After the initial development of a strategic plan, infrastructure and market inventory and planning review in Phase I, WCPDI Phase II was initiated as, Leveraging our Comparative Advantage, Phase II: Identification and Development of Wisconsin Port Market Scenarios. The purpose and objectives of “Identification and Development of Wisconsin Port Market Scenarios” are to identify the commodities, project cargo, corridors and new markets with the greatest potential for maritime movement that are not currently serviced by a maritime route, and then evaluate the routing, feasibility, costs, time and consequences of current land-side routes and a comparable marine delivery.
For Phase II, the project team identified market sheds within the reach of Wisconsin by water, evaluated the availability and movement of commodities, containerized cargoes and OSOW cargoes, and then identified four marine highway corridors that connected Wisconsin to its trading partners. The corridors align with the existing MARAD marine highways of M-55 and M-35 corridors as well as with several variants of the M-90 corridor. For each of the highway and marine highway corridor sets, comparisons between the routes were based on distance, transit time, travel cost for one FEU, fuel use and emissions. These factors were then used to determine the cost of equivalent moves across the modes as the capacity in one trip is greater on a barge or freighter than that of a single truck move. This feasibility analysis demonstrated that the marine corridors were, in fact, cost competitive and generated substantial environmental benefits over the truck moves.
Also, for each corridor pair, a modal diversion analysis was conducted to provide commercial port stakeholders a baseline estimate to the volumes of freight leaving their respective regions within the state, as well as volumes of freight that could potentially utilize the marine highways instead of traditional highways. To support the use of the information to develop these marine highway corridors, a list of commodities and shipping businesses in proximity to each of the commercial ports is provided. This information can be used to identify potential cargoes and customers.