Big is better. The largest Great Lakes freighters are enormous and can carry more than 70,000 tons of cargo in a single voyage. Stood on end, these ships would be as tall as a 100 story building. Because of their size, ships offer the most efficient means of transporting large quantities of cargo. For example, the largest Great Lakes vessels can transport the same amount of cargo as 700 rail cars or 2,800 trucks.
These efficiencies benefit the environment. On average, Great Lakes-Seaway shipping is 14 percent more fuel efficient than rail and nearly 600 percent more fuel efficient than trucking. These fuel savings result in fewer emissions and a cleaner environment.