Investment in Seaway and Great Lakes Shipping Strong, Study Finds
The study asked more than 600 businesses and organizations along the navigation system about their infrastructure investments over the past five years.
Steven Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association, one of the study’s sponsors, said the survey showed governments and businesses large and small are spending $7 billion on expansion and upgrades.
"All of these investments are evidence that hundreds of individual actors are betting on the future of the region, betting on the future of the region’s economy," he said.
Fisher says the investment is spread across all segments of the industry, from ship owners to locks to ports.
"Our volume from an international standpoint, in 2014 compared to 2013, grew by 25 percent - and we’re expecting the same type of jump in 2015," said David Gutheil, vice president of maritime and logistics at the Port of Cleveland. The port added the first direct service to Europe from the Great Lakes in the spring, and has invested millions in improved rail access in recent years.
Gutheil said cargo volumes on the Great Lakes and Seaway overall have been rising, because of national shortages in truck drivers and rail capacity, and the advent of larger ships that carry more cargo. He said that's causing congestion at coastal ports and has made Great Lakes shipping more attractive.