Great Lakes Shipping & Transportation
From the earliest days of European settlement, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway has been utilized as a means of transportation. Great Lakes cities were founded as trading posts along a vast marine highway which facilitated commerce in an era pre-dating railroads and highways. This relationship to the water has enabled the region to thrive. Today, the Great Lakes-St - Lawrence Seaway region is an economic powerhouse and the industrial heartland of both the United States and Canada with a GDP of more than $4 trillion.
Over the last 200 years, navigation improvements in both the United States and Canada have enhanced theGreat Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway. The Welland Canal has connected Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, enabling vessels to bypass Niagara Falls. The Soo Locks have made the St. Marys River navigable, connecting Lake Superior with Lake Huron. The St. Lawrence Seaway has tamed the St. Lawrence River, enabling ships to sail from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean. The resulting deep draft navigation system is the longest in the world, extending 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) into the North American heartland.
The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway System is undeniably efficient; it functions without affecting other modes of transportation, which are already overloaded. Approximately 164 million metric tons of cargo is moved every year through the system. Ships can transport freight 1.14 times more efficiently than rail, and 7 times more efficiently than trucks, which gives mining, manufacturing and agriculture in the region a competitive edge. Additionally, reduced fuel usage and a diminished environmental impact, as well as the safety factor, make transport by water extremely attractive for businesses.