Study: Great Lakes shipping important to economy

Oct 18, 2011

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A newly released study says the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs and generates billions of dollars in wages, tax revenue and purchases.

The industry-funded analysis released Tuesday describes shipping in the region as essential to the economy.

Collister Johnson of the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. says the industry provides waterfront jobs like piloting vessels and working at terminals. But it also supports steelworkers, miners, grain farmers and construction workers.

Some have questioned the wisdom of allowing ocean vessels to enter the Great Lakes because their ballast discharges have deposited invasive species such as zebra mussels and quagga mussels into the waters.

But U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said marine transportation is the most fuel-efficient and cost-effective way to move goods.