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Industry Users

Great Lakes-Seaway ships deliver 164 million metric tons of essential raw materials every year for North America’s biggest brands and businesses.

To understand the magnitude and reach of these cargoes, consider the following:

  • A Seaway size vessel moves enough wheat in one load to make bread for every resident of New York City for nearly a month. North American farmers depend on Great lakes-Seaway shipping to move barley, wheat, soybeans and corn to domestic and international markets. These crops become beer and ethanol fuel in the U.S., bread in England, pasta in Italy, and couscous in Morocco.
  • One 1,000 foot long Great Lakes vessel carries enough iron ore to operate a giant steel mill for more than four days. The Great Lakes-Seaway System handles more than 80 percent of the iron ore used in the U.S. steel industry. In Ontario, it supports the activities of more than 60 steel manufacturers.
  • One 1,000 foot long vessel carries enough coal to power Greater Detroit for one day. The Great Lakes-Seaway System is a critical conduit for the mining industries in both Canada and the U.S. shipping coal for power generation, salt for road safety, limestone for steel making, and cement for construction projects.
  • Marine shipping makes a major contribution to green energy as the safest and most cost-effective way of transporting giant wind turbine components to new power projects near the Great Lakes and U.S. interior.


Case Studies

ArcelorMittal - USA

Burns Harbor, Indiana

As the world’s leading steel company, ArcelorMittal has operations in more than 60 countries spanning four continents. Their United States headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois with port facilities at Burns Harbor, Indiana and Cleveland, Ohio. Read more.


Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

CHS, a diversified energy, grains and food company, plays a pivotal role in ensuring its customers have the products they need, when they need them. A Fortune 200 company, CHS is the largest farmer-owned cooperative in the United States. Operations reach from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest, and from the Canadian border to Texas. With roots dating back 75 years, CHS is the nation’s largest cooperative marketer of grain, and the third largest U.S. exporter of grain. Read more.

Canadian Wheat Board

Winnipeg, Canada

On behalf of western farmers, the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) ships around 3.5 million metric tons of wheat from the Port of Thunder Bay through the Great Lakes-Seaway System to overseas markets every year. Prairie wheat shipped through the Seaway is used for food staples like pasta in Italy, couscous in Morocco and bread in England. Read more.

Frick Services

Burns Harbor, Indiana

For nearly 100 years, the Frick family has been serving the needs of Agribusinesses in Indiana. In 1918, Henry Frick opened a feed store and coal yard in Wawaka, about 97 miles from the Port of Burns Harbor, where the company today has its warehousing facility. Read more.

Great Lakes Calcium

Green Bay, Wisconsin

What do animal feed, fertilizer, and PVC pipe have in common? They may seem to be unrelated, but each product depends heavily on the calcium carbonate produced at Great Lakes Calcium during their respective production processes. Read more.

Midwest Energy Resources Company

Superior, Wisconsin

When residents of Detroit log on to the internet or plug in their coffee makers, they have Midwest Energy Resources Company (MERC) to thank for the electric power flowing into their homes. Read more.

Minnesota Power

Duluth, Minnesota

As the electric utility for ALLETE, Inc., Minnesota Power supplies electric service to 144,000 retail customers, 16 municipalities, and some of the largest industrial customers in the U.S. Headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota, the company’s 1,400 employees ensure that affordable, safe, and reliable energy services are provided within a 26,000 square mile area in the northeast section of the state. Read more.

Redpath Sugar Ltd.

Toronto, Ontario

Redpath Sugar’s white and red package is a familiar sight on Ontario supermarket shelves. Their sugar is used to not only to sweeten coffee and tea but is a staple ingredient in many Canadian household food brands and baked goods. Did you know that all of the raw sugar that Canada’s oldest sugar refiner uses to make its products is transported by ship through the Great Lakes-Seaway System? Read more.

Tata Steel

Ontario, Ohio and Indiana

What do consumer batteries have to do with Great Lakes shipping? Read more.