The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers launched the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Initiative in 2013. They created a Maritime Task Force and called for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River maritime transportation system (MTS) to be authorized, managed and funded as a single system. This Initiative will help rejuvenate this critical component of the regional transportation network, and is an important step toward improving the region’s economic competitiveness.
The MTS supports the region's $6 trillion economy. It supports more than 220,000 jobs and more than $30 billion in business revenue each year. Yet each year, the aging system and its ability to sustain this activity continues to decline. With the launch of this Initiative, the Governors and Premiers are taking an important step to reverse this trend and rejuvenate the MTS.
The MTS includes more than 100 commercial ports spread across eight states and two provinces. More than 40 provincial and interstate highways and nearly 30 rail lines link the 15 major ports of the MTS and 50 regional ports with consumers, products and industries all over North America. These ports serve as a critical connection between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ohio, Illinois and Mississippi River transportation systems, and integrate the region with global supply chains.