DULUTH – A long-standing coal, limestone and salt dock on the Duluth side of the St. Louis River — the farthest upriver maritime terminal — wants to relocate across the harbor to Superior.

C. Reiss is asking for nearly $10 million in state and federal aid to move to a vacant dock near the massive Midwest Energy Resources Co. coal terminal.

"The project will bring five new jobs to Superior, but the real benefit will be the increase in the tax base to the city and the state," city documents say.

C. Reiss already owns the Superior dock it wants to move to, which has been unused for 30 years and was once operated by Berwind Coal Co.

The downstream relocation requires extensive dock wall repairs, dredging, rail and building construction and other work that is expected to cost close to $21 million. C. Reiss is requesting $6 million in grants from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and $3.7 million from the federal transportation department.

"Substantial improvements are needed to the dock and the site," says a resolution in support of the grants approved by the Superior City Council Tuesday night.

The C. Reiss project is part of a suite of major harbor improvements proposed in Superior, including a $30 million upgrade to a dry dock at Fraser Shipyards and $7.5 million in dock wall improvements to accommodate ships at Elkhorn Equipment, where the Georgia-Pacific hardboard plant once stood.

C. Reiss, based in Green Bay, Wis., and owned by conglomerate Robindale Energy, has four terminals on the Great Lakes that handle coal, limestone and salt. The company has been in operation for more than 135 years and has 30 employees. Company officials did not return messages seeking comment.

Annual coal volumes have dropped by millions of tons at the Port of Duluth-Superior in recent years as the regional power plants that had long relied on Western coal arriving by train, then ship, are shut down. In 2010, about 18.5 million tons of coal were shipped through the port; last year 8 million tons were moved.