In May 2011, county officers were seeking to create a new Will County Port Authority that would manage the county's two important inland ports: the Port of Joliet and the Port of Channahon. If the port authority is approved through State legislation, it would have the authority to collect permit fees for trucks using the existing inter-modal facilities in order to fund necessary road repairs and maintenance. The new port authority would also relieve current multi-jurisdictional fee-collection issues involving the inter-modal facilities.
The Illinois Waterway system contains about 540 kilometers (336 miles) from the mouth of the Calumet River to the mouth of the Illinois River. This system of lakes, rivers, and canals create a connection for shipping from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The main cargoes leaving the Port of Joliet to travel upstream include petroleum, chemicals, and coal for power plants. The major products (soybeans and corn) leaving the Port of Joliet travelling downstream are destined for export in New Orleans.
The Brandon Road Lock and Dam is in the Port of Joliet about 286 river miles upstream from the Mississippi River. During the winter, ice flows sometimes prevent barges and towboats from using the Illinois.
The Port of Will County LLC owns and operates the Barge Dock in the Port of Joliet. Used to ship and receive bulk cargoes, the plant is served by a surface rail track that connects with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Canadian National Railroad. The Port of Joliet's Barge Dock has berthing space of 268 meters (880 feet) with alongside depth of 4.3 meters (14 feet) NPE.
Seaways Corporation owns, and Illinois Marine Towing Inc. operates the Port of Joliet Dock and Fleeting Area to moor barges and towboats for fleeting. The Fleeting Area has capacity for 50 Joliet Fleet barges and 15 Lemont Fleet barges about 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles) upstream from the Port of Joliet. The Port of Joliet Dock and Fleeting Area has berthing space of 228 meters (750 feet) with alongside depth of 5.2 meters (17 feet) NPE.
Joliet Marine and Drydock Inc. owns and operates the Joliet Marine & Drydock Landing in the Port of Joliet to moor and repair floating equipment and barges and to moor its floating dry dock. At the head of the slip is permanently moored the office boat Alexander McKenzie, and a 450-ton floating dry dock is moored next to the office boat. Another 200-ton floating dry dock is moored at the outer end of the slip. The Port of Joliet's Marine & Drydock Landing has berthing space of 335 meters (1100 feet) NPE.
Metal Management Midwest owns and operates a portion of the Port of Joliet Dock to ship and receive scrap metal and to receive pig iron. A surface rail track connects the dock to CSX Transportation Inc. At the rear of this Port of Joliet dock are a scrap-metal processing plant and an open storage area with capacity for 50 tons of material. The Port of Joliet Dock has berthing space of 396 meters (1300 feet) with alongside depth of 3 meters (10 feet) NPE.
Ozinga Illinois RMC Inc. owns and operates a portion of the Port of Joliet Dock to receive sand and cement. At the rear of the dock, Ozinga Illinois has about 1.5 acres of open storage area that can accommodate 60 thousand tons of sand. A pneumatic pipeline connects the wharf to a storage dome with capacity for 34.8 thousand tons of sand, and another pipeline connects the wharf to two storage silos with total capacity for 950 tons. This portion of the Port of Joliet Dock has berthing space of 305 meters (1000 feet) with alongside depth of 2.7 meters (9 feet) NPE.
Edison International Company's Midwest Generation owns the Port of Joliet Generating Station No. 9 Coal Dock. Although it is not always in use, a surface rail track supports the rotary car dumper at the rear of the dock with a production rate of 30 cars per hour and connects with the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway. The plant has open storage with capacity for 650 thousand tons of coal which arrives by rail and is moved by an electric belt conveyor to a second open storage area at the company's plant across the river with capacity for 1.2 million tons of coal. This Port of Joliet Coal Dock has berthing space of 512 meters (1680 feet) with alongside depth of 3.4 meters (11 feet) NPE.