The Wilfred Sykes, a 671-foot Great Lakes bulk freighter, cruises through Lily Bay, Door County, in mid-December, a few days before the Port of Green Bay closed. Due to extreme cold and heavy ice, the port closed about two weeks ahead of normal this season, according to Dean Haen, port director. Haen expects Coast Guard icebreakers will need to be called in to open the port on March 15, as scheduled, if temperatures seen in January continue.
A total of 181 ships came to the port during 2013 carrying 2.2 million tons of cargo including coal, cement, salt, limestone, ethanol, petroleum and pig iron. Haen says that in 2010, the last time the port measured its economic impact, it was $88 million in Green Bay alone, although the flow of cargo and economic benefits from the westernmost port on Lake Michigan extends as far as Sheboygan, Wausau and the Upper Peninsula.
The port is a department of Brown County and runs on the revenue it generates from fees and land and facility rentals.