New Economic Impact Study Released

On July 18, 2018, a coalition of Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry organizations released a comprehensive economic impact analysis of the binational navigation system. Entitled, “Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Region,” the study was performed by Martin Associates, a leading economic consulting firm specializing in maritime analysis. The study’s sponsors include the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, the American Great Lakes Ports Association, the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the Lake Carriers’ Association, and the Shipping Federation of Canada.

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is the longest deep-draft waterway in the world spanning 2300 miles from Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean. This commercial waterway serves ports in the eight Great Lakes states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. System users include key industries such as steel production, power generation, construction, and agriculture.

The study analyzed the 2017 navigation system and documents that more than 143 million metric tons of cargo valued at $15.2 billion were moved on the Great Lakes Seaway system. This cargo created the following economic impacts in the binational region:

  • supported 237,868 jobs
  • created $35 billion (USD) in economic activity
  • generated $14.2 billion (USD) in personal income
  • paid $6.2 billion in federal/state-provincial/local taxes

The study also analyses the economic impacts of specific navigation infrastructure.

The St. Lawrence Seaway consists of a series of canals and 15 navigation locks between Lake Erie and Montreal. This vital waterway connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and enables Great Lakes ports to access global markets. Commerce utilizing the Seaway supported 92,661 jobs in 2017.

The Soo Locks are located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes. Commerce transiting the Soo Locks was responsible for 123,172 jobs in 2017.

To view or download a copy of the report, click on the links below:

Full Study

Executive Summary