Klobuchar predicts manufacturing, exporting will surge

The Port of Duluth will benefit in the future from a greater volume of manufacturing and exporting, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, left, said Thursday as Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Deb DeLuca looks on.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Minnesota) predicted a resurgence in manufacturing and exporting Thursday during a news conference at Clure Public Marine Terminal in Duluth.

“Instead of bringing everything in from other countries, as much as we like that as a port too, it’s also about making stuff in America – inventing things and exporting to the world. That’s what this port stands for,” she said.

Addressing infrastructure, Minnesota’s senior senator said the Great Lakes needs funding for another ice breaker and a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie.  

“We have specifically asked the Biden administration for $207 million in the next budget to give shippers better capacity,” Klobuchar said.

She lauded President Joe Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill, saying the country has to play catch-up in the world market because infrastructure hasn’t sufficiently been maintained or replaced. In the Port of Duluth, however, $27 million has been invested since 2015, added Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Deb DeLuca.

“Our customers are saving up to one third on freight costs,” by using the port’s new intermodal terminal, DeLuca said. “All this infrastructure investment is important, and we have a number of key infrastructure investments coming up.”

The port set a record in transshipping project cargo during 2020 despite COVID-19, and officials expect other commodities to rebound this year, she said.