About the Port District
The Pittsburgh Port District encompasses a twelve county area including Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Blair, Butler, Clarion, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties, essentially all 200 miles of commercially navigable waterways in southwestern Pennsylvania. It includes the three major rivers in southwestern PA: the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio. This waterway is made navigable by a system of seventeen locks and dams. The Port of Pittsburgh supports over 200 river terminals and barge industry service suppliers, including privately owned public river terminals. The Port complex is served by the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads and by four interstate highways. The Port of Pittsburgh Commission acts as a comprehensive service for shippers and industries seeking information on the river system.
Based on 2014 data from the US Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh is the fourth busiest inland port in the nation and the 23th busiest port, of any kind, in the nation, handling 32 million tons of cargo in 2014. Pittsburgh is larger in tonnage than Philadelphia, Port Arthur, and Seattle, for example. Each lock on the Monongahela and the Ohio rivers handles approximately 9,000 barges per year.
CMAQ funding has facilitated the upgrading of towboats in the Port District with cleaner burning diesel engines, and recent research and studies have been undertaken to explore the viability of using Liquid Natural Gas fuel for towboats.
Inland waterway transportation is generally the least costly transportation mode. Average cost ranges between $0.005 and $0.01 per ton mile of cargo moved. This compares to nearly $0.05 for rails and $0.10 for trucks. These savings offer companies located in or choosing to locate in the Port of Pittsburgh District a substantial transportation advantage in sourcing raw materials or marketing finished products.
Inland Waterway Map