LANSING – State Representative Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit) today said that Detroit’s future is also tied to the Port of Detroit, and he looks forward to working with his colleagues on ways to grow and improve Michigan’s exports. Byrd was one of three members of the House Commerce and Trade Committee who were appointed by Committee Chairman Joe Graves (R- Argentine Township) to serve on the special Michigan Ports Workgroup.

“The Port of Detroit creates jobs and pumps revenue from shipping into our local and state economy, so it makes good fiscal sense to look at what the state is doing to support and help grow their operations,” said Byrd. “I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues, who also have ports in their districts, on a strategy to ensure that our communities and our state are making the most of our ports and that we are doing all we can to use them to ship Michigan-made  products to other countries.

According to statistics provided by the Port of Detroit, the port is responsible for creating about 16,000 jobs in Southeast Michigan, which generates about one half billion dollars in business revenue. The Detroit River moves about 80 billion tons of cargo annually. About 7 million tons of overseas and Canadian cargo go through the Port of Detroit each year.

Along with Rep. Byrd, the workgroup includes Republican Reps. Holly Hughes (R-Montague) and Jason Shepherd (R-Temperance). The Michigan Ports Workgroup will meet through the summer and early fall with the goal of submitting recommendations to the House Commerce and Trade Committee by the end of September.