The Port of Monroe is one of the oldest ports on the Great Lakes. Established in 1932 after a general vote of the Monroe electorate, the Port was constructed in the late 1930s and 40s under a Public Works Administration grant and bonds backed by the Port Commission and Monroe Industry.
Cargoes at the Port include steel, sand, gravel, coal, paperboard, petroleum, coke and salt. Its storied past includes being home to the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. during winter lay-up in the early 20th century, storing over 10,000 Renault cars per year during the 1960s, and significant activity through the 1970s and 80s with Edison, North Star Steel and C. Reiss Coal. The Port of Monroe boasts a strategic location along the Great Lakes. Though it has received local recognition for its potential, the Port looks to capitalize on its strengths as a large land mass port with significant industry and multi-modal connectivity.
The Port of Monroe is one of the oldest ports on the Great Lakes. Established in 1932 after a general vote of the Monroe electorate, the Port was constructed in the late 1930s and 40s under a Public Works Administration grant and bonds backed by the Port Commission and Monroe..Learn more
By 1940, the Port of Monroe was open for business.
The Port also stored over 10,000 Renault Cars per year during the 1960s. The cars were bound for international markets via the seaway. (Views of the cars)
During the 1960s, the Port of Monroe was home to the vessels of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company during winter layup. (Pittsburgh/Manistee layups)
In the 1970s an extensive economic impacts study of the Port of Monroe was conducted that resulted in outlandish proposals such as an offshore island industrial complex that would be able to accommodate the 1000-foot vessels on the Great Lakes, which at the time were the newest thing on the..Learn more
Other activity at the Port during this time was through Port tenants such as Edison, North Star Steel (Now Gerdau) and the C. Reiss Coal Company.
The port’s turning basin is frequently used by vessels that call on docks at the Port of Monroe. The largest vessel to use the turning basin was the 770-foot St. Clair of the American Steamship Company in September 1981.
In 2002, the Port of Monroe celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Key to putting the Port back on the map was a partnership between the Port of Monroe and DTE Energy to manage the power plant’s output of synthetic gypsum which had previously been trucked to a landfill. The Port capably moved gypsum across the dock to beneficial use markets elsewhere..Learn more
Additional investment in Monroe required the rehabilitation of the long-dormant riverfront. The Port welcomed the first self-unloader vessel in 2015 and welcomed the same vessel back in 2018 after construction of a new berth along the riverfront. This investment, was the State of Michigan’s first investment in a commercial port.
One of the constants in Monroe has been the presence of the historic Great Lakes Towing Company. The tug America, pictured below assisting the Pittsburgh Steamship vessel Irving S. Olds, is currently stationed in the Port of Monroe as the Georgia. This tug, built in 1897, has been subject to..Learn more
In 2021, the Port was featured on the cover of several publications, including Greenwood’s guide to Great Lakes shipping. This harkens back to previous historic publications that the port has been featured on.
As it has been since its establishment, The Port of Monroe boasts a strategic location along the Great Lakes. Today, the Port looks to capitalize on its strengths as a large land mass port with significant industry and multi-modal connectivity, and continue to be an economic engine for Monroe County..Learn more