Economy

Inland and coastal shipping are key drivers of the U.S. and Canadian economies. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River navigation system is an efficient, low-cost marine superhighway that connects our cities/towns and businesses to markets throughout North America and around the world. It supports the economic success of a bi-national region with a GDP valued at more than CDN$6 trillion. Marine-related industries also contribute significantly to the health, education and general prosperity of society through supporting well-paying, family-supporting jobs and making a significant contribution to taxes in Canada and the U.S.

Main Economic Impacts

So what’s the impact of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ports?

Jobs

Regional Map Economic Breakdown

Find out how marine shipping keeps your state/province working.

Click on a location on the map to view details

Great Lakes map Ontario Quebec Minnesota Wisconsin Michigan New York Pennsylvania Ohio Indiana Illinois

Ontario

Ontario

Economic Activity$10 billion CDN

Total Employment70,000 jobs

Personal Income$3.9 billion CDN

Local Purchases$2.8 billion CDN

Total Taxes Paid$1.9 billion CDN

Marine Delivers for Ontario

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports more than 70,000 jobs.
  • More than 61 million metric tons of freight are shipped/received through Ontario's ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, coal, coke, limestone, steel products, cement, salt, petroleum products, and machinery.
  • Ontario's Great Lakes ports are located at Bath, Bowmanville, Bruce Mines, Clarkson, Courtright, Goderich, Hamilton, Heron Bay, Marathon, Meldrum Bay, Michipicoten, Nanticoke, Oakville, Oshawa, Owen Sound, Perry Sound, Picton, Port Colborne, Port Credit, Port Lambton, Port Stanley, Johnstown, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Serpent Harbour, Thessalon, Thunder Bay, Toronto, and Windsor.
  • The shipping industry serves Ontario's farmers, steel makers, manufacturers, power generation utilities, refineries, and construction industry.
  • Ontario is home to several shipyards and ship repair facilities.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Quebec

Economic Activity $16 billion CDN

Total Employment110,000 jobs

Personal income$5.8 billion CDN

Local Purchases$6.3 billion CDN

Total Taxes Paid$3.7 billion CDN

Marine Delivers for Quebec

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports 110,000 jobs.
  • More than 123 million metric tons of freight are shipped/received by Quebec ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, grain, liquid and dry bulk, and containers.
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway acts as a valuable connection to Ontario and U.S. markets for ships carrying materials to and from Quebec ports located on the Lower St. Lawrence River.
  • The shipping industry serves Quebec’s mining industry and oil refineries. Quebec ports also act as transshipment hubs to transfer grain from western Canada and Ontario to ocean-going vessels to overseas markets.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Minnesota

Economic Activity $1.9 billion CDN

Total Employment6,161 jobs

Personal income$537 million CDN

Local Purchases$288 million CDN

Total Taxes Paid$299 million CDN

Marine Delivers for Minnesota

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports over 6,000 jobs.
  • More than 30 million tons of freight are shipped/received through Minnesota's Great Lakes ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, coal, limestone, agricultural products, cement, machinery, and wind energy components.
  • Minnesota's Great Lakes ports are located in Duluth, Silver Bay, Taconite Harbor, and Two Harbors.
  • The shipping industry serves Minnesota's farmers, miners, manufacturers, and construction industry.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Wisconsin

Economic Activity $1.9 billion CDN

Total Employment7,484 jobs

Personal income$623 million CDN

Local Purchases$273 million CDN

Total Taxes Paid$313 million CDN

Marine Delivers for Wisconsin

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports close to 7,500 jobs.
  • More than 27 million tons of freight are shipped/received through Wisconsin's Great Lakes ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, coal, coke, limestone, corn, soybeans, peas, steel products, cement, salt, pig iron, scrap iron, petroleum products, and machinery.
  • Wisconsin's Great Lakes ports are located at Ashland, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Marinette, Milwaukee, Oak Creek, Port Washington, and Superior.
  • The shipping industry serves Wisconsin's farmers, manufacturers, power generation utilities, paper manufacturers, and construction industry.
  • Wisconsin is home to several shipyards and ship repair facilities.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Michigan

Economic Activity $5.4 billion CDN

Total Employment25,910 jobs

Personal income$2.3 billion CDN

Local Purchases$900 million CDN

Total Taxes Paid$991 million CDN

Marine Delivers for Michigan

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports 26,000 jobs.
  • More than 59 million tons of freight are shipped/received through Michigan’s Great Lakes Ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, coal, limestone, grain, steel products, cement, petroleum products, and machinery.
  • Michigan’s Great Lakes ports are located at Alpena, Brevort, Calcite, Charlevois, Cheboygan, Detroit, Drummond Island, Ecorse, Escanaba, Essexville, Frankfort, Gladstone, Grand Haven, Hancock, Harbor Beach, Holland, Houghton, Ludington, Mackinaw City, Manistee, Marine City, Marquette, Marysville, Menominee, Monroe, Munsing, Muskegon, Ontonagon, Port Dolomite, Port Gypsum, Port Huron, Port Inland, Presque Isle (UP), Presque Isle, River Rouge, Saginaw, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Stoneport, Traverse City, Trenton, and Wyandotte.
  • The shipping industry serves Michigan’s farmers, miners, steel industry, manufacturers, power generation utilities, road maintenance agencies, and construction industry.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

New York

Economic Activity $184 million CDN

Total Employment1,349 jobs

Personal income$140 million CDN

Local Purchases$22 million CDN

Total Taxes Paid$54 million CDN

Marine Delivers for New York

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports 1,349 jobs.
  • Close to 1 million tons of freight are shipped/received through New York's Great Lakes ports.
  • Major cargoes include coal, limestone, grain, cement, salt, fuel oil, aluminum, machinery, and wind energy components.
  • New York's Great Lakes ports are located in Buffalo, Ogdensburg, Oswego, Rochester, and Tonawanda.
  • The shipping industry serves New York's agriculture and food products industry, power generation utilities, road maintenance agencies, manufacturers, and construction industry.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Illinois

Economic Activity$1.1 billion CDN

Total Employment6,476 jobs

Personal income$678 million CDN

Local Purchases$116 million CDN

Total Taxes Paid$263 million CDN

Marine Delivers for Illinois

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports more than 6,500 jobs.
  • More than 10 million tons of freight are shipped/received through Illinois' Great Lakes ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, coal, limestone, grain, sugar, soybeans, steel products, cement, petroleum products, and machinery.
  • Illinois' Great Lakes ports are located at Chicago and Waukegan.
  • The shipping industry serves Illinois' farmers, manufacturers, and construction industry.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Indiana

Economic Activity $17.8 billion CDN

Total Employment66,158 jobs

Personal income$6.4 billion CDN

Local Purchases$3.4 billion CDN

Total Taxes Paid$3 billion CDN

Marine Delivers for Indiana

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports over 66,000 jobs.
  • 27 million tons of freight are shipped/received through Indiana's Great Lakes ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, coal, limestone, grain, fertilizers, steel products, petroleum products, and machinery.
  • Indiana's Great Lakes ports are located at Buffington Harbor, Burns Harbor, Gary, and Indiana Harbor.
  • The shipping industry serves Indiana's farmers, steel industry, manufacturers, power generation utilities, and construction industry.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Ohio

Economic Activity $4.9 billion CDN

Total Employment33,168 jobs

Personal income$2.3 billion CDN

Local Purchases$900 million CDN

Total Taxes Paid$991 million CDN

Marine Delivers for Ohio

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports 33,168 jobs.
  • More than 59 million tons of freight are shipped/received through Michigan’s Great Lakes Ports.
  • Major cargoes include iron ore, coal, limestone, grain, steel products, cement, salt, potash, gypsum, petroleum products, and machinery.
  • Ohio's Great Lakes ports are located in Ashtabula, Cleveland, Conneault, Fairport Harbor, Huron, Lorain, Marblehead, Sandusky, and Toledo.
  • The shipping industry serves Ohio's farmers, steel industry, manufacturers, power generation utilities, road maintenance agencies, and construction industry.
  • Ohio is home to several shipyards and ship repair facilities.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Pennsylvania

Economic Activity $117 million CDN

Total Employment757 jobs

Personal income$64 million CDN

Local Purchases$37 million CDN

Total Taxes Paid$27 million CDN

Marine Delivers for Pennsylvania

Efficient, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Supports 757 jobs.
  • More than 600,000 tons of freight are shipped/received through Pennsylvania's Great Lakes port.
  • Major cargoes include limestone, biodiesel fuel, and paper products.
  • Pennsylvania's Great Lakes port is located in Erie.
  • The shipping industry serves Pennsylvania's farmers, manufacturers, and construction industry.
  • Pennsylvania is home to a major Great Lakes shipyard and ship repair facility.

Source: Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)

Investment in Growth

More than $7 billion is being spent on ports, locks and vessel infrastructure to make the bi-national Great Lakes-St. Lawrence navigation system safer, more efficient and environmentally advanced. 

Cargo

North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers, power generators and Canadian households depend on the 230 million metric tons of raw materials and finished goods that are delivered by Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ships every year. This cargo is valued at over CDN$100.5 billion.

Annual Transportation Savings

Marine transportation on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence System provides $3.6 billion (USD) in annual transportation cost savings compared to the next least expensive all-land transportation alternative. This enhances the global competitiveness of North American products and industries and keeps the cost of consumer goods down.

Supporting North American Industries

Go East: As farming technology advances and crop yields grow, the ability to reach export markets by ship will become even more important for Canadian farmers. Find out more >

Most American iron ore – 85 per cent – comes from the mines in northern Minnesota and is shipped through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. Find out more >

As the world’s largest steel and mining company, ArcelorMittal depends on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway to ship raw materials to its operations for products ultimately destined for North American markets. Find out more >

Did you know that all of the raw sugar that Canada’s oldest sugar refiner uses to make its products is transported by ship? Find out more >