The Port of Duluth-Superior received some good news on shipping tonnage over the past month and the past year.  The information was included within the general update provided by the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership for their October Summary.

There were gains to be recognized all the way around - both in imports and exports, foreign and domestic. And, they demonstrate the  general inter-connected nature of the industry.  Adam Tindall-Schlicht, the recently appointed Administrator of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation explains:

"The high number of steel shipments through the Seaway System last month is the latest example of how this reliable supply chain directly benefits the North American economy.  The steel that Great Lakes ports are moving continues to uplift the United States manufacturing sector and provide quality jobs in the industry."

One of the highlights of the summary report details how the Seaway System moved 934,000 metric tons of United States grain to countries around the world; that marks a "nearly 25 percent increase compared to the same period in 2021".  In addition the Great Lakes port system added two additional countries to its tally of worldwide partners over the past month.

The report goes into specifics about each of the Great Lakes. Looking at Lake Superior - and the Port of Duluth-Superior, here are some stand outs:

  • October saw more than 3.1 million short tons of maritime cargo leave th eport
  • That puts season-to-date tonnage past 23.4 million
  • Biggest shipments (by tonnage):  wind, energy cargo, and industrial pieces
  • In regards to energy carfo, October saw "the longest blades ever moved through Duluth":  260 feet long
  • General cargo tonnage cleared 24,000 tons for the month / 96,000 tons for the season

Deb DeLuca, the Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority puts it into perspective:

"It's been a very strong year for general cargo shipments, which feature outsized economic value per ton in comparison to bulk cargo, and also help support development of industry and greener energy sources.  That's been a silver lining in an otherwise below-average tonnage year.  It's also been a strong season for limestone, salt, and cement deliveries to the port."

All told, shipping is a big industry and plays a major role in the economy in our part of the country. Great Lakes Seaway shipping contributes the following to the U.S. economy on an annual basis:

  • 237,868 jobs
  • $35 billion in economic activity
  • $14.2 billion in personal income and local consumption expenditures
  • $6.6 billion in federal, state, provincial, and local tax revenue

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System extends 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.  For more information, visit

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