Great Lakes-Seaway Shipping is a Foundation of the Economy

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

 A comprehensive economic impact study that analyzed the 2017 commercial navigation season of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System documents that $15.2 billion in cargo moved on the system and that maritime commerce:

·        * supported 237,868 jobs;
 * created $35 billion (USD) in economic activity;
 * generated $14.2 billion (USD) in personal income; and
 * paid $6.2 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

It further highlights that 123,172 jobs were dependent on the Soo Locks. Entitled “Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Region,” the lengthy title reflects the enormous contributions the maritime industry makes to the lives of the citizens and the economies of more than 100 port communities that line its shores. The report provides the navigation community, transportation planners, government policy makers and the general public with an assessment of the economic impacts of the Great Lakes-Seaway system.*

The GLSLSS is the longest deep-draft navigation system in the world, extending over 2,300 miles from the Port of Duluth-Superior to the Atlantic Ocean. It serves the industrial and agricultural heartland of the U.S. and Canada. If the system and the region it serves were its own country, it would be the third largest economy in the world with a combined Gross Domestic Product of more than $6 trillion. North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers and electric power generators depend on the system to move raw materials and finished products that include iron ore, coal, stone, salt, sugar, grain, steel, wind turbine components and other heavy machinery.  

“The jobs supported by the maritime industry include not only those located directly on the waterfront—shipyard workers, stevedores, vessel operators, terminal employees, truck drivers and marine pilots—but also grain farmers, construction works, miners and steelworkers,” said Steven A. Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association. “Many of these jobs would vanish if not for a dynamic maritime industry.”

The study was conducted by Martin Associates of Lancaster, Penn., a global leader in transportation economic analysis and strategic planning. It was commissioned by a coalition of U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway marine industry stakeholders. To read the full report and see a list of partners, visit:
An executive summary also can be found there. A companion study highlighting statistics for the Port of Duluth-Superior is expected to be released before the end of August.

*The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System includes impacts of domestic and international cargo that has traveled at some point through the Great Lakes, its connecting rivers and the St. Lawrence Seaway (ending at St. Lambert Lock in Montreal). It excludes Quebec commerce that moves exclusively between Canadian ports on the lower St. Lawrence River, as well as commerce between those Canadian ports and overseas ports. 


Great Lakes-Seaway Shipping is a Foundation of the Economy

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