Total Employment


Total Business Revenue


Total Taxes Paid



Minnesota Relies on Great Lakes-Seaway Shipping

The state of Minnesota borders 272 miles of Lake Superior. Its four deep-draft commercial ports handle more than 58 million tons of inbound and outbound cargo annually.*

Great Lakes Seaway shipping is critical to the state's mining and agricultural sectors. Ore from Minnesota's Iron Range is railed to Lake Superior ports and transported by vessel to steel mills in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Ontario. Farm products from the upper Midwest are brought to the Port of Duluth for export to Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and South America. Wind energy components that originate in Spain, Denmark, Germany, South Korea and China arrive through the Port of Duluth for transport to inland wind energy projects. Likewise, wind turbine blades made in North Dakota are shipped from Duluth to Spain, Brazil and Chile. Large refinery components are shipped to the Port of Duluth from all over the world, destined for the oil fields of North Dakota and Alberta. Each unique cargo movement has a positive economic impact on Minnesota, creating jobs and stimulating the state's economy.

* includes the bi-state port of Duluth/Superior

Economic Impacts (In 2018 USD)

JobsPersonal IncomeBusiness RevenueLocal PurchasesTotal Taxes Paid
6,161$413.4 million$1.27 billion$222 million$230 million

Investments (In 2013 USD)

Invested in Minnesota port, terminal and waterway infrastructure
$121 million

Minnesota Port Activity

PortAnnual TonnageMajor Cargoes Handled
Duluth/Superior36,477,000Coal, limestone, iron ore, cement, grain, general cargo
Two Harbors16,709,000Iron ore
Silver Bay5,164,000Coal, limestone, iron ore
Taconite Harbor490,000Coal

(Source: Waterborne Commerce of the United States, Part III, USACE, CY 2013)

Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, Martin Associates (July 2018)
Infrastructure Investment Survey of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System, Martin Associates (January 2015)

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