Inland waterways still vital asset

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — One of Collis P. Huntington’s big ideas after the Civil War was to connect his Chesapeake and Ohio rail line with the nation’s inland waterways and expand commerce into the Midwest.

Huntington was founded in 1871 on the banks of the Ohio River as part of that plan, and our region has been involved in river transportation ever since.

Today, most of us may think shipping in terms of trucking and Fed Ex, but the Tri-State’s river and rail connections are still a vital part of the nation’s commercial transportation system – especially when it comes to commodities and the “big stuff.”

Even with the slowdown in the coal industry, the West Virginia river systems that make up the Port of Huntington Tri-State is still the second largest inland port in the country, handling billions in coal, construction materials, petroleum products and chemicals every year. That work contributes about $1.6 billion to the West Virginia economy…

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