"Wisconsin's commercial ports are major economic hubs, generating thousands of family supporting jobs while playing an increasingly important role in the state's tourism industry and adding greatly to the state's quality of life."
"Wisconsin's location, bordered on three sides by commercially navigable waterways, perfectly situates it to benefit from water transportation. Wisconsin's ports serve as centers of ship building, commercial fishing, ferrying services and the efficient transport of bulk goods. Each year, Wisconsin ports handle over 40 million tons of cargo valued at over $8 billion. This includes agricultural commodities destined for international markets, coal for power plants, iron ore and wood pulp, cement and road salt."
Water transportation is the most cost efficient travel mode for moving bulk commodities such as agricultural products, petroleum, coal and construction materials, as well as foreign imports. Freight rates per ton-mile for waterborne modes are as much as 60% lower than rates for other types of overland shipments.
"The total gross economic impact is the sum of the direct, indirect, and induced impacts on employment, income, and output. In 2008, businesses at Wisconsin's commercial ports supported 9,550 jobs, and generated over $1.6 billion in economic output and nearly $462 million in personal income from wages and salaries."