Maritime Transportation

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River maritime transportation system is vital to the economies of the United States and Canada. The system moves 200 million tons of freight each year and saves customers approximately $3.6 billion per year over any other transportation mode, while creating jobs in port communities and supporting industries such as manufacturing, steel production, agribusiness and power generation. Ensuring the continued viability of commercial navigation in the Great Lakes requires maintaining and investing in harbors, ports, shipping channels, locks and related infrastructure, including regular dredging.

The Great Lakes Commission is collaborating with the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers to support implementation of the Strategy for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Transportation System, adopted in 2016, which aims to double maritime trade, improve the system’s environmental performance and support the region’s industrial core. The strategy recommends actions to maintain and expand the maritime transportation system and establishes a Regional Maritime Entity to coordinate state and provincial actions.

The Blue Accounting Maritime Transportation Pilot will establish metrics and collect and present data and information to track progress toward achieving the goals set in the regional maritime strategy and assess the impact of policies and investments. Initial elements will include an updated and expanded inventory of maritime assets and tracking cargo volumes moving in the system. Future elements of the maritime pilot will track environmental impacts, investments, economic indicators, and other measures of the system’s performance.