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Port of Green Bay shows big economic growth in last five years

Latest economic impact study shows $70.3 million increase from 2017

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September 19, 2023

GREEN BAY – When it comes to gauging Northeast Wisconsin’s economic health, Director Dean Haen said the Port of Green Bay is considered a key indicator.

“When the port is seeing good activity, that means the area is seeing good activity,” he said. “The port is the economic engine for our area, and we are pleased to see confirmation of that with the (latest economic) study.”

In the latest economic impact study for the year 2022 released earlier this month, the Port of Green Bay’s economic impact hit $217.3 million, a $70.3 million increase since 2017.

“It’s remarkable, especially when you consider the world economy during the COVID-19 pandemic years,” Haen said. “This study demonstrates our economic resiliency in Northeast Wisconsin. While we know the Port of Green Bay has a positive economic impact on our region, this study helps us better understand what the impact is.”

Josh Hermus, vice president of business development at U.S. Energy, a U.S. Venture company, said marine transportation is the “way to go.”

“It’s important to recognize marine transportation of refined petroleum products is safer and more economical than trucking and rail transportation,” he said. “It’s also more environmentally friendly, emitting fewer greenhouse gasses.”

Hermus said the role the port plays goes far beyond fuel supply.

“It ensures we have a more sustainable future for everyone,” he said. “The port also facilitates the outgoing flow of renewable fuels – such as ethanol – to various points around the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.”

Why so good?
Haen said there are several factors leading to the positive economic numbers.

“The port is a reflection of the Northeast Wisconsin economy,” he said. “Right now (in Northeast Wisconsin), agriculture is good, construction has been good and manufacturing has been good. When those three things are rolling, that’s a good sign. At the port, we are moving stuff other people are consuming – in terms of fuel or making something.”

In the latest study, the Port of Green Bay’s economic impact hit more than $217 million, a $70 million increase since 2017. Submitted Photo

Haen said if the 2022 tonnage numbers had been better, the economic impact would have been even higher.

“Our 2022 tonnage was significantly less than what we saw every year from 2019-21,” he said. “2022 was just a down year, and we still showed a great increase from 2017. In my mind, it could have been even higher if we had picked a different year.”

With the lure of the Midwest – Northeast Wisconsin in particular – and Green Bay’s recent No. 1 ranking in the U.S. News & World Report, Haen said that also bodes well for the future of the port.

“By our next five years, we look to be significantly higher than this latest economic study,” he said. “Especially with the redevelopment and the investments being made.”

Other numbers
The report also points to 1,620 jobs supported by the port, an increase of 331 jobs over the 2017 total.

“When someone says, ‘The port doesn’t affect me,’ I’d like to say it really does,” Haen said. “If you’re a truck driver, putting gas in your car, paying taxes to rebuild the street in front of your house, building a new house or pouring a new driveway – that’s cement – it all comes through the port. You can look into your extended family, and it’s likely someone, somehow, is connected to the port.”

The report also showed personal income paid during 2022 reached $41.7 million.

Port of Green Bay Director Dean Haen said when it comes to gauging Northeast Wisconsin’s economic wealth, the port is considered a key indicator. Rich Palzewic Photo

When combined with induced and indirect income, the impact exceeded $142 million, according to the report.

Haen said these numbers demonstrate high, family-supporting wages.

“The port plays a profound role in our region, not only for businesses but for the families who live and work here,” Troy Streckenbach, Brown County Executive, said. “The direct and indirect impact of the port on our regional economy is undeniable. We’re incredibly fortunate to have it in our community.”

Streckenbach also stressed the tax implications the port has on the entire region.

“Port activities resulted in $38 million in local and state taxes,” he said. “That supports essential services like police, fire, transportation and education. The future of the port is looking promising.” 

More on the port
The Port of Green Bay offers a direct route for shipping from the Midwest to the rest of the world.

The port has 14 terminals along a three-mile stretch of the Fox River.

During the 2022 shipping season, terminal operators moved a little more than 1.75 million tons of cargo, which included limestone, cement, petroleum products, salt, coal and wood pulp.

The SS Alpena, a cement carrier, is a frequent visitor to the Port of Green Bay. By 2015, the Alpena became the oldest active steamship on the Great Lakes. Submitted Photo

Haen said what the port carries in every year changes, too.

“Six or seven years ago, we brought in more than a million tons of coal,” he said. “That’s dissipated to about 100,000 (tons per year). We’ve been able to strategically diversify so we have more cargo offerings because they all go up and down independently of one another.”

The 14 active terminals on the Fox River include:
Ace MarineC. Reiss CompanyConstruction Resources ManagementFlint Hills ResourcesFox River TerminalsGeorgia-PacificGraymontGLC MineralsKK Integrated LogisticsLafarge Northern AmericaRGLSanimaxSt. Mary’s CementU.S. Venture
The study
The Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Region report was published in July.

It was commissioned by a consortium of U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System stakeholders and conducted by Martin Associates of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which was retained to prepare the study.

The impacts are measured for the year 2022 and are presented in terms of total economic impacts at the bi-national regional level, the country level, and the state/provincial level.

For more information on the port and the economic study, visit

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