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story.lead_photo.caption Backers of a proposed Missouri River port in or near Jefferson City are working to advance the project. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

There's still land conveyance work to be done before there's a new Missouri River port in Jefferson City, but as the Heartland Port Authority develops its marketing strategy to attract interest in development, it's clear ambitions are high.

Gov. Mike Parson in July signed a locally sponsored bill transferring 116 acres of state-owned land just east of the Ike Skelton Training Facility to the Heartland Port Authority — buoying prospects for a future river port there.

However, there still needs to be negotiations with the state Office of Administration over how much the land is worth and how the Port Authority could have access to it — be it through rent, long-term lease or purchase.

Heartland Port Authority Chairman Rick Mihalevich said Tuesday that in about two weeks — after the Nov. 3 election — OA will decide how it wants to proceed.

The Port Authority is also discussing how it wants to put together a strategic communications plan.

Steve Veile, chairman of local public relations and media firm Communique, said Tuesday that Communique will provide a logo for free to the Port Authority as a starting point, but developing the bigger plan will cost money.

Veile suggested the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority as a source of possible funding.

He also took details from the Port Authority on Tuesday as to its marketing vision — who they want to reach.

Board member Roger Fischer and others said the vision is global, as the future is in container shipments, and the largest container shippers are international companies — Maersk, of Denmark; Mediterranean Shipping Company, of Switzerland; and COSCO Shipping, of China.

The idea of a local port would be to have the ability to ferry goods in containers, eventually reaching larger ports from where they can be loaded onto ocean-going ships.

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