Duluth Clure Terminal renovation a boon for shippers

DuluthThere is one dock in the Duluth working waterfront that stands out from the rest; the Clure Public Marine Terminal; the only general cargo dock in the harbor, and it recently received a renovation.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s maritime masterpiece, the Port of Duluth Intermodal Project, is opening for the upcoming shipping season. The nearly $18 million investment is the largest infrastructure project taken on by the Port Authority in more than 50 years and it is set to impact the Twin Ports shipping industry.

Other docks in the Duluth harbor receive bulk items, such as iron-ore and grain. The Clure Public Marine Terminal, however, can receive project cargo, such as large pieces of equipment, or heavy-lift cargo. This previously vacant, underutilized dock will play an integral role as a new distribution hub for industries such as mining, oil and gas production, pulp and paper, and wind energy.

Large cargo such as wind turbines, with extra-long blades, will be offloaded from those ships onto the reinforced heavy lift dock (which can receive items up to 700-900 tons) and staged on the property. From there, the cargo will be shipped to its destination by truck or rail car.

Adele Yorde, the public relations manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said this dock can help shippers utilize each mode of transportation to the greatest level of efficiency.

The Clure Terminal’s recent renovation tripled its outdoor storage capacity and doubled its heavy-lift cargo handling capabilities. | PAUL SCINOCCA

“The longer you keep any cargo on water, you are gaining that economic and environmental benefit, because the emissions are less and the fuel efficiencies are so much greater,” said Yorde.

Revitalization of the dock took about 30 years of planning. Once the project was designed and funding was obtained, contractors began rebuilding and expanding the 28-acre dock, taking 18-months to complete. A new rail spur was built, the deck was resurfaced, a new roll-on/roll-off dock was constructed, water was dredged to increase the terminal’s depth, and lighting and security fencing was installed. Completion of the project tripled the outdoor storage capacity of the Clure Terminal and doubled its heavy-lift cargo handling capabilities.

Yorde said the dock is the perfect staging area that will “enhance the competitiveness of the entire region by increasing freight capacity via the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.”

The available acres of storage on the property may open up opportunities for new shippers in the future.

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By Kelsey Roseth