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Port stats and facts at a glance.

Port Location

  • Westernmost tip of Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake (by surface area) 
  • 2,342 miles (3,769 km)-less than a week's sailing time-from the Atlantic Ocean
  • 601 feet (183 meters) above sea level

Waterfront

  • 49 miles (79 km) long, with 17 miles (27 km) of dredged channels
  • 19 square miles (49 km2) of water in a naturally protected harbor

Tonnage/Principal Cargoes

  • Handle an average of 38 million short tons of cargo each year
  • Principal cargoes: Iron ore (40%), Coal (40%), Grain (5-10%) Other (5-10%)
  • Annual average of 1,000 vessel visits
  • Primary Outbound Cargo: Iron ore, coal and grain.
  • Primary Inbound Cargo: Limestone, cement, salt. Energy-related project cargo.

Maximum size through 15 sets of Seaway locks:

Length:740 feet (222.5 m)
Beam:78 feet (23.7 m)
Draft:26 feet, 9 inches (8.1 m)

Maximum size through Soo locks (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan):

Length:1,100 feet (335.3 m)
Beam:105 feet (32 m)
Draft:27 feet, 9 inches (8.4 m)
May fluctuate with water levels

Port of Duluth-Superior Docks/Terminals

  • Major facilities include:
    • 2 ore docks
    • 1 coal transshipment terminal
    • 10 bulk terminals
    • 7 grain elevators (55 million bushel capacity)
    • 1 general cargo terminal/distribution hub
    • 1 fueling depot
    • 1 shipyard w/2 dry docks

Ranking by Cargo Loadings*

  • Ore, #1 nationally
  • Coal, #4 nationally
  • Grain, #1 U.S. Great Lakes

Port Ranking* (total cargo volume)

Largest dry bulk port in the U.S.

  • # 1 Great Lakes
  • #25 nationally

*U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2008

Navigation Season

Oceangoing: March 25 - Dec. 26
Great Lakes: March 25 - Jan. 15
May be seasonally adjusted

About Lake Superior

  • World's largest freshwater lake (by surface area)
  • Water Surface Area: 31,700 sq. mi. (82,100 km2)
  • Largest of the 5 Great Lakes
  • Deepest point: 1,332 ft. (406 meters)
  • Volume: 3 quadrillion gallons of water (i.e. 3,000,000,000,000,000 gallons or 11.4 quadrillion liters)

For more facts about Lake Superior, visit Minnesota Sea Grant.