Port of Duluth-Superior injects billions into local/regional economy according to maritime industry study

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Port of Duluth-Superior, USA - Cargo shipments in and out of the Port of Duluth-Superior support over 11,500 jobs in Minnesota and Wisconsin; generate $1.5 billion in direct business revenue; produce $156 million in state and federal taxes; and contribute over $545 million in wages and salaries (and, in turn, purchases of goods and services) in the Great Lakes regional economy.

These findings, released today by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, reflect the local segment of a broader study of economic impacts of the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway (GLSLS) system conducted by Martin Associates - results of which were released by the maritime industry just last month. 

 "The Port of Duluth-Superior anchors the western end of the entire Great Lakes-Seaway," said Adolph Ojard, Port Authority Executive Director. "As the largest tonnage port on the Lakes - with 20 privately owned and operated bulk cargo docks plus the Clure Public Marine general cargo terminal - we've long known the integral role this port plays in the region's economic vitality. Now, having this definitive data, policy-makers, investors, business leaders and residents alike will understand just how valuable this port is to job growth and economic sustainability in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin." 

Some 40 million tons of iron ore, coal, limestone, salt, cement, grain, steel, wind turbines, and heavy machinery move through the port each year, helping to keep businesses running in adjoining states and in communities along the U.S.-Canadian border.

Employment figures reported in this local study not only reflect those direct impact jobs related to moving marine cargo on the waterfront such as longshoremen, terminal employees, vessel operators, railroad workers, truckers and the like, but also the induced and indirect employment impacts of those individuals re-spending their earnings in grocery stores, restaurants and shopping centers...and marine-related companies purchasing goods and services from equipment supply companies, contractors and professional service providers in this region.

"The value of the Port of Duluth-Superior cannot be overstated," said Jason Serck, City of Superior Planning and Port Director. "When you take a look at the total number of jobs in our two communities and surrounding areas related to maritime commerce, the impacts are staggering. The study underscores the fact that this port is a strong economic driver of the economies of both Minnesota and Wisconsin." 

Maritime officials agree that the Port of Duluth-Superior - and the entire Great Lakes-Seaway system - is a vital transportation link for the mines in northeastern Minnesota, for the farmers to the west, and for steelmakers and utilities to the east. "This marine highway is our lifeline to Europe, the Baltic, North Africa and beyond," added Ojard. "Promoted internationally as ‘Highway H2O,' it keeps our heartland competitive in the global marketplace." 

Additional economic impact figures reflected at the conclusion of these reports also highlight jobs, earnings, and business and tax revenues generated by related users - those folks like miners, steelworkers, grain farmers, and construction workers - many whose jobs are not solely dependent on waterborne commerce but could disappear were it not for a vibrant, healthy maritime industry.

The comprehensive study of the GLSLS conducted by Martin Associates during 2010 determined that maritime commerce along this bi-national waterway supported a total of 227,000 jobs; contributed $14.1 billion in annual personal income, $33.5 billion in business revenue, and $6.4 billion in local purchases; and added $4.6 billion to federal, state/provincial, and local tax revenues. 

Release of these study results prompted U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to note, "This report bears out what we've long known - that the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway is crucial to the U.S. economy. Not only is marine transportation the single most fuel-efficient and cost-effective way to haul goods from one place to another, but it also supports hundreds of thousands of essential jobs and generates billions of dollars in economic activity."


To see the full report, entitled "The Economic Impacts of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System," visit  That report, a copy of the Executive Summary, and the latest, local report entitled "Economic Impacts of the Port of Duluth-Superior" can also be found in the NewsCenter/Publications section of  the Port Authority's website (   

For more information, contact: Adele Yorde, PR Manager, (218) 727-8525.  


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