Hard at work on the Economic Impact Study
Michigan Port Collaborative

MPC Board of Directors

Saugatuck, MI


DON GILMET, Vice President
City of Alpena


Grand Haven Area CVB


DENNIS BLUE, Secretary
Portage Lake Harbor Commission


BEACH HALL, Director
Rogers City

Governor's Award For Innovative Tourism Collaboration

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About MPC

The Michigan Port Collaborative unites our ports and partners, recognizing that our Great Lakes and coastal assets are key to growing Michigan’s economy, businesses and tourism, as well as protecting our precious and unique inland seas.


The Michigan Port Collaborative unites port communities working to develop our Great Lakes coastline as "Michigan's Front Door".  

Our Great Lakes, ports and coastal assets are unique in the world and are critical to future efforts to enhance the Michigan economy.  We are dedicated to growing and sustaining a robust waterfront economy that integrates marine passenger and freight transportation, commercial maritime operations, recreation, tourism and education about our region's history, while protecting the Great Lakes. 

We are also dedicated to preserving and sharing Michigan’s rich natural and Maritime heritage. We celebrate our Great Lakes and freshwater shoreline which offers unparalleled opportunities for recreation, tourism and to experience our authentic maritime history. 

We believe additional State and Federal incentives and funding are essential to maintaining the economic strength of Michigan’s ports and harbors to enhance the key role we play in sustaining Michigan’s economy.


The Michigan Port Collaborative (MPC) is incorporated as an independent, non-for-profit 501C3 tax exempt and tax-deductible organization.


Together, Michigan ports and our partners are uniting to:

  • Advance common policy and budget priorities in Lansing and Washington D.C.
  • Develop and sustain the Blue Water Highway to provide affordable and environmentally protective freight and passenger transportation on our Great Lakes.
  • Showcase Michigan’s rich history, bountiful natural beauty, modern and historic maritime commerce.
  • Build Great Lakes stewardship.
  • Share port resources, news, innovative ideas and best practices.
  • Link higher education, business and port leaders to anticipate port related jobs.


In 2007, approximately 40 leaders representing Michigan ports and state government officials met in Port Huron, Michigan to explore common issues and opportunities for port communities to work together. Subsequent meetings held in Traverse City, Detroit and Lansing during the following two years enabled the fledgling organization to recruit additional communities and leaders. This resulted in the formation of the Michigan Port Collaborative in 2009. From 2010 through 2011 a series of meetings were organized by the MPC to address State and Federal issues facing Michigan’s port communities. In 2011, the MPC hosted a series of regional and statewide meetings to explore individual port challenges, as well as ensure that state and federal policy makers remained informed about the problems facing Michigan ports and their assets.


In January 2016, based on a series of failed legislative efforts to obtain funding for critical issues facing Michigan ports and harbors, the MPC Board of Directors decided to redirect the efforts of the organization to help port communities calculate the “full-spectrum” economic impact of Michigan’s port system on State and Federal economies. The MPC set about the task of changing the traditional thinking of many state and local agencies that Michigan harbors are economic liabilities.

The Board of Directors applied for a grant through the Michigan State Waterways Commission in cooperation with the City of Alpena, to undertake a unique “ full spectrum” economic impact study of the ports and harbors of Michigan. This study was designed to not only include the traditional maritime measurements used in all other port economic impact studies but would also include economic drivers/attributes for individual ports including tourism and recreation. The project deliverables also provided for a user-friendly input-output modeling template to be used by ports to compute their economic activity and economic impact on an ongoing basis.

Twenty one Michigan ports helped fund the study. The results of the statewide port study will be announced to State legislators, the industry and the press at a meeting in Lansing, Michigan on April 18, 2019 at the Raddison Hotel.