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Economic Impact Study Finds Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Shipping Supports More Than 237,000 Jobs and Billions in Economic Activity

Great Lakes Shipping Impact Report  Lake Superior News

WASHINGTON DC  – July 22, 2018  (LSN)   According to a new study, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system supports more than 237,000 jobs, 147,500 of which are located in the eight U.S. Great Lakes states. In addition, the study found that in the United States, maritime commerce on the waterway in 2017 supported $25.6 billion in economic activity, $10.5 billion in annual personal income, and $4.6 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.

The comprehensive study, “Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region” was commissioned by the marine shipping industry in partnership with government agencies, including the Department of Transportation’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

“The St. Lawrence Seaway is vital to America’s freight transportation network, job creation and economic growth,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The study measured the effects of cargo movements in 2017 at Great Lakes ports, including employment, personal income, business revenue, local purchases, and federal, state, and local taxes. The states with the highest employment numbers relative to Great Lakes Seaway shipping were Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Domestic and international cargo that transited the St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 38 million metric tons and was valued at $7.7 billion. The economic impact of commerce coming directly through the U.S. Seaway locks equals 33,000 U.S. jobs, $4.7 billion in business revenue, $2.4 billion in personal income and $1.1 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

“This study documents the enormous economic contribution the maritime industry provides to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway region,” said Craig H. Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “In addition to providing well-paying jobs, maritime commerce is one of the safest, most fuel-efficient, and cost-effective ways to move goods that support key industries such as agriculture, steel manufacturing, and construction in the United States.”

In 2017, ports and marine terminals on the Great Lakes Seaway System handled 285 million metric tons of cargo valued at $15.2 billion. This cargo included grain, iron ore, coal, manufactured iron and steel products, heavy lift/project cargoes, and salt. A link to the full study can be found at