Shipping Brings Billions to The Northland
Posted at: 10/18/2012 5:23 PM
| Updated at: 10/18/2012 6:12 PM
By: Travis Dill
The Twin Ports are among more than 100 commercial ports in the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway system, but the local economic benefits of the ports have never been studied with the help of both the U.S. And Canada, until now.
The first bi-national survey to show the economic impact of shipping on the Great Lakes Seaway was presented to day to the Rotary Club of Duluth. It shows that the shipping industry supports over 11,500 jobs in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, (SLSDC) is a government agency that helps keep cargo ships running smoothly in the seaway and helped produce the study.
Their study found that ship commerce is linked to 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada. The study also found that industry also pays $4.6 billion in taxes each year.
Craig Middlebrook is the Administrator of the SLSDC, and he says the study shows what industry officials have long said.
“We've never really had that data just to make the case to tell people...what is the benefit derived from this type of economic activity, and so for the first time we really have those kind of numbers,” Middlebrook said.
The numbers are good news for Adolph Ojard, the Executive Director of the Duluth Port Authority.
He said the data will help them prove why harbor maintenance is so vital.
"When we hear comments regarding the dredging crisis and the need for additional monies spent to maintain our harbors, our waterways that you can understand why it's important to support these initiatives,” Ojard said.
Ojard says a harbor tax is meant to pay for dredging to clear a path for ships nationwide, but only half of the money collected is going toward that purpose. He said that results in only half of the dredging projects in the Great Lakes receiving funding.
Ojard said more dredging is needed to keep the Twin Ports competitive with other shipping options such as rail transportation.