What is the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority?


The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority is a special-purpose authority created in 1978 by the Michigan State Legislature to plan, develop and promote the greater Detroit area as a freight transportation and distribution hub for the Great Lakes.


What territory does the Port Authority have jurisdiction?


The Port Authority oversees and promotes commercial and recreation activities along 32-miles of the Detroit River from Lake St. Clair to the Wayne/Monroe County border.


What does the Port Authority do?


The Port Authority is the primary public conduit between private sector businesses in the Port of Detroit and the public sector.  In this role the Port Authority offers assistance in capital finance, development, applications and disbursement of public sector and foundation grant programs.


What is the Port Authority's primary role in the Port of Detroit?


The Port Authority owns the City of Detroit’s only general cargo terminal, located in Southwest Detroit. This terminal is responsible for the inbound movement of steel and project cargo that is utilized by the region’s industries.


How many vessel trips are made each year through the Port of Detroit?


There are approximately 1,500 trips into and out of the Port of Detroit by both domestic and international vessels from China, Brazil, and the Eastern European Baltic nations each year.


What kind of cargo is shipped into the Port of Detroit?


The Port Authority oversees more than 17 million tons of cargo at 29 private and public sector terminal facilities in the Port of Detroit each year. International and domestic high-grade steel products, coal, iron ore, cement, aggregate and other road building commodities are shipped in and out of Detroit’s port. It is the third largest steel-handling port in the nation.


What else does the Port Authority do?


The Port Authority advances projects and programs in the maritime domain that promote tourism, economic development, alternative energy initiatives, and environmental clean-up while protecting international borders from security gaps.


How does the Port Authority help “green” the Port of Detroit?


From removing abandoned vessels and pollution from the Rouge River to engineering tugboats to run on cleaner fuel, the Port Authority’s environmental programs are helping to “green” the Port of Detroit. It has offered financial assistance toward the revitalization of defunct port properties and brownfield sites into more productive use. The Port Authority has also funded research seeking to develop an off-shore hydrokinetic system that would capture water currents and turn them into useable energy.


What role does the Port Authority play in international relations?


With an international border immediately across the Detroit River, the Port Authority has a primary role in foreign affairs. In 2009, the Port Authority completed a risk assessment resulting in $7 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for surveillance, water-based patrols, and increased security at high-priority waterfront sites. Also, through its Greater Detroit Foreign Trade Zone Program, the Port Authority is able to attract and retain businesses to create jobs in Southeast Michigan.


What is the Port Authority doing to promote tourism in Detroit and Wayne County?


The Port Authority is leading Detroit’s return to maritime tourist activities marketing Detroit as a port of call for Great Lakes cruises, tall ships, and other passenger charter vessels.


Who are the Port Authority’s program partners?


The Port Authority works with federal, state and local agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and all local homeland security agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit.  The Port Authority also works with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, City of Detroit, and Wayne County.


How was the Port Authority created?


In 1925, the Michigan State Legislature passed Public Act 234, the “Port Districts Act,” authorizing the creation of Port Districts to spearhead the coordination of regional maritime activities. In 1933, the Detroit Wayne County Port District was established with jurisdiction over the waters and shoreline of Wayne County. As more development began to take place, a stronger need for concentration on port activities arose, resulting in the establishment of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority in 1978. The organizational board meeting was held October 10, 1980. Henry Ford II served as the first chairman of the board of directors.

Our History

In 1701, Detroit was founded by Antoine de La MoThe Cadillac when he planted the flag of France at the foot of what is now Griswold Street. Detroit's geographic location between the upper and lower Great Lakes provided reliable access to several key forest, soil and mining materials. In 1749, concerted efforts were begun to strengthen the French hold on the Ohio territory....

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