Total Employment


Total Business Revenue


Total Taxes Paid



Michigan Relies on Great Lakes Seaway Shipping

Michigan’s shoreline stretches more than 3,200 miles on four of the five Great Lakes, including over 1,000 miles of Lake Michigan and over 900 miles of Lake Superior. The state’s two peninsulas also border parts of Lakes Huron and Erie. Nearly 64 million tons of inbound and outbound cargoes are handled at Michigan’s Great Lakes ports.*

Michigan has more ports than any other state in the region, an indication of the critical role that shipping plays in the state's economy. For example, iron ore mined in the upper peninsula is loaded onto lake vessels in Escanaba for transport to steel mills in Gary, Detroit and Cleveland. Limestone quarried in Rogers City and Drummond Island is delivered to ports throughout the region for use in steel-making and construction. Steel products from Europe, South America and Asia are off-loaded from ocean-going vessels in Detroit for use by local manufacturers. Low-sulfur coal is delivered by ship to power generation facilities in Monroe and St. Clair. Raw materials such as sand, gravel, and salt each move through Michigan ports - each playing an important role in the state's economy.

* includes the bi-state port of Menominee/Marinette

Economic Impacts (In 2018 USD)

JobsPersonal IncomeBusiness RevenueLocal PurchasesTotal Taxes Paid
25,910$1.7 billion$3.2 billion$692 million$763 million

Investments (In 2013 USD)

Invested in Michigan port, terminal and waterway infrastructure
$115 million

Michigan Port Activity

PortAnnual TonnageMajor Cargoes Handled
Alpena2,237,000coal, coke, limestone, aluminum, salt, slag, cement
Calcite7,759,000gasoline, fuel oil, limestone, sand/gravel, salt
Cheboygan227,000gasoline, fuel oil, limestone
Detroit*14,836,000coal, limestone, iron ore, salt, cement, iron & steel, aluminum, asphalt, slag
Drummond Island1,260,000limestone, iron ore
Escanaba84,000coal, salt
Grand Haven1,321,000coal, limestone, sand/gravel, slag, cement
Holland512,000limestone, sand/gravel, iron & steel
Ludington473,000salt, limestone, sand/gravel
Manistee385,000coal, coke, limestone, slag
Marine City780,000limestone
Marquette987,000limestone, sand/gravel, iron ore, clay
Marysville385,000limestone, sand/gravel
Menominee/Marinette184,000salt, pig iron
Monroe1,195,000coal, limestone, asphalt, gypsum, iron & steel
Muskegon773,000limestone, sand/gravel, clay, salt, cement
Port Dolomite2,766,000limestone, sand/gravel, clay, salt, slag
Port Inland4,327,000limestone, sand/gravel, clay, salt
Presque Isle and UP7,473,000coal, iron ore
Saginaw3,214,000coal, limestone, sand/gravel, salt, cement
Sault Ste. Marie69,000salt, steel scrap
St. Clair**6,192,000coal
St. Joseph197,000limestone, cement
Stoneport4,141,000limestone, sand/gravel, clay, slag

*Includes Detroit Harbor, Rouge River, Ecorse, Wyandotte, and Trenton
**Includes facilities on the St. Clair River


  • The Economic Impacts of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Navigation System, 2011 – Martin Associates
  • The Economic Impacts of Maritime Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region, 2017 – Martin Associates
  • Infrastructure Investment Survey of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System, 2015 – Martin Associates
  • Waterborne Commerce of the United States, Part III, 2013 – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Waterborne Commerce of the United States, 2018 – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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