River_barge_TransPage477Greater Cincinnati has a robust inland port infrastructure that delivers on all modes of transportation.  With its location on the Ohio River and strong manufacturing history, the region can provide safe, efficient, and low-cost movement of products and goods — by air, river, rail, and road. Its multimodal system presents a competitive advantage for manufacturers and businesses.

From the Cincinnati region, 43 percent of the national population and 44 percent of the nation’s manufacturing are within a 600-mile radius, making it uniquely attractive as a distribution hub, consolidation point, and global destination for imported and exported goods.

A key role of the Port Authority is to define and implement policy as the chief public agency in charge of coordination and marketing of regional freight transportation assets.  As part of its strategic planning process, the Port Authority is focused on:

  • Establishing regional goals for increased flow of freight and local value add;
  • Leveraging public and private assets to increase efficiency and capacity of freight transportation systems.

Ohio River and Licking River

The Ports of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky is an inland port jurisdiction that includes 226.5 miles of commercially navigable waterways of the Ohio River and Licking River in Kentucky. Its boundaries include the following 15 counties in Ohio and Kentucky:

  • Ohio: Hamilton, Clermont, Brown, Adams, Scioto (part)
  • Kentucky: Trimble, Carroll, Gallatin, Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken, Mason, Lewis

There is a growing awareness that the Ohio River is underutilized as a transportation conduit and represents untapped potential for increased regional prosperity. Traffic on inland waterways will continue to increase as businesses realize the benefits of this affordable, energy-efficient solution that can easily link with surface & air transportation facilities. Regionally, we must work to ensure the safety and effectiveness of multimodal transportation system through partnership and focused investment.

M-70 Marine Highway

The Ohio River is an important link in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Highway system. According to MARAD, America’s Marine Highways are navigable waterways that have been designated by the Secretary of Transportation and have demonstrated the ability to provide additional capacity to relieve congested land-side routes serving freight and passenger movement. The America’s Marine Highway Program, established by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, is a Department of Transportation- led initiative to expand the use of waterborne transportation while relieving land-side congestion and reducing carbon emissions. The program is designed to focus on the integration of Marine Highways into the nation’s surface transportation system, providing seamless transition across all modes by leveraging marine services to complement land-side surface transportation routes.

America’s Marine Highways consist of over 29,000 nautical miles of navigable waterways including rivers, bays, channels, the Great Lakes, and Saint Lawrence Seaway System and coastal routes. The Marine Highway system is a robust and efficient means of moving freight in terms of cost per ton-mile– and yet, it is the most underutilized of our transportation modes. In 2007, water services carried only 13 percent of the nation’s ton-miles of domestic freight, down from 26 percent in 1965.



According to the Ohio Rail Development Commission, the freight rail system in Ohio is comprised of three Class I railroads, 16 regional and short line railroads, and 15 terminal carriers. In Cincinnati district, Norfolk-Southern, formerly a Norfolk and Western line, extends approximately 91 miles between Cincinnati and Portsmouth. In the Dayton district, a Norfolk-Southern line extends approximately 111 miles between Columbus and Cincinnati. The line has both single and double track segments with trains controlled by CTC (centralized traffic control.) The Indiana & Ohio Railway has trackage rights over the Cincinnati – Springfield segment of the line.

Air Cargo

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is a leading regional airport, with 180 daily departures to 53 non-stop cities. It is also home to DHL’s main North American “super hub.” In addition to CVG, DHL’s other global “super hubs,” are located in Hong Kong and Leipzig, Germany. About 92 percent of the company’s volume in the U.S. moves through CVG. DHL has invested more than $105.5 million in the CVG hub since 2009.
From CVG - DHL Vehicles