The Northland’s transportation network is the lifeblood of its economy. Movement of products through the region is essential to the manufacturing, mining, forest products, and service industries. The Northland produces many large products, and an elaborate network of highways, the ports in Duluth and Superior, and four Class 1 railways work to make sure these items are shipped efficiently.

 

Aviation

There are three international airports in the Nortland. The Duluth International Airport is the region’s hub, and the Range Regional Airport in Chisholm/Hibbing and Falls International Airport in International Falls also serve the area.

All three provide passenger service to Minneapolis/St. Paul through Delta Air Lines or Delta Connection. Duluth also has Delta flights to Detroit and United Express, which flies to Chicago.

Duluth and International Falls are ports of entry and offer customs service.

Aviation

Duluth International Airport

Hub Status

Second Tier

Distance

N/A

Runways

2/27: 10,152×150; 3/21: 5,719×150

Instrument

CAT II ILS (9/27)

Hours of Operation

24/7

Days Closed

0

Approved Capital Projects

$63,116,095 through 2025 (Extension of Runway 3/21, reconstruction runway 9/27 (three phases), taxiway A rehab/realignment, midfield apron repair, pavement maintenance, ATC Tower Extensive Rehabilitation, equipment and land acquisition.)

Commercial Passenger Services

Delta Air Lines: 6 non-stop flights daily to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

United Airlines: 4 non-stop flights daily to Chicago, Illinois

American Airlines: 3 non-stop flights daily to Chicago, Illinois

Other Services

Monaco Air (FBO); Sun Country Airlines (Charter). General aviation airports: Duluth Sky Harbor Airport; Duluth Sky Harbor Seaplane Base; Duluth/North Country Seaplane Base

Range Regional Airport

 

Hub Status

Regional Air Carrier Airport

Distance

N/A

Runways

13/31: 6,758×150; 4/22: 3, 075×75

Instruments

Dual CAT I ILS

Hours of Operation

0400-2359

Days Closed

0

Approved Capital Projects

$15,112,000 through 2022 (Rehab/expand terminal apron, expand ramp, aircraft hangar, and resurface taxiway A & B and part of C. Equipment and land acquisition.)

Commercial Passenger Services

Delta Connection: 2 non-stop flights daily to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Other Services

Hibbing Fuel Facility (FBO); Sun Country Airlines (Charter); aircraft maintenance; rental cars

General Aviation Airports

Range Regional Airport, Carey Lake Seaplane Base

Falls International Airport

 

Hub Status

Regional Air Carrier Airport

Distance

N/A

Runways

13/31: 7,400×150; 4/22: 2,999×75

Instrument

CAT I ILS

Hours of Operation

0500-2300

Days Closed

0

Approved Capital Projects

$15,150,000 through 2022 (Terminal expansion/remodel, passenger loading bridge, maintenance hanger, pavement rehabilitation, equipment and land acquisition.)

Commercial Passenger Services

Delta Connection: 3 non-stop daily flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Other Services

Einarson Flying Service (FBO)

General Aviation Airports

International Falls Seaplane Base

Source: Individual Airports

Highways & Interstates

The Northland is well-integrated into the United States’ federal highway system.  Interstate 35 runs north and south from Laredo, Texas to Duluth. U.S. Highways 2, 53, 71, and 169 crisscross the region, giving producers throughout the area access to major highways to ship their products.

Commute times are very reasonable, and average between 15 and 19 minutes. Capital improvements throughout the region are shared by the state, counties, and, in some cases, cities. Many large transportation projects are geared toward assisting economic development projects.

 

Ports

Located on the Minnesota side of the harbor, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority is responsible for generating trade opportunities, advancing regional industrial development, and advocating for maritime industry interests in Duluth, Superior, and around the world. The Port Authority also oversees a two-phase, 365-acre industrial park called Airpark just east of the Duluth International Airport. Airpark features 40 private companies operating with about 700 employees, primarily in light manufacturing facilities.

The Port Authority facilitates Duluth Cargo Connect, a working partnership between the Port Authority and Lake Superior Warehousing. They provide seamless cargo handling, storage, distribution, and transportation logistics services for breakbulk, heavy lift, and other cargoes moving through the Port. Lake Superior Warehousing has operated the terminal and warehouses under contract with the Port Authority since 1991.

Duluth Cargo Connect and CN partner to operate an intermodal facility at the Clure Marine Terminal in Duluth.


Duluth Seaway Port Authority

Cities

Duluth, Superior

Distance

N/A

River, Lake or Ocean

Lake Superior

Season

March – January

Channel Depth

27 feet

Turning Basin

Yes

General Cargo Facilities

Yes

Containerized Facilities

Yes

Barging Facilities

Yes, plus integrated tug barges

Storage Facilities

Yes

Crane Capacity

Two 81 metric ton mounted gantry cranes, with a tandem capacity of 120 metric tons; additional crane capacity as required

Highways Serving Port

Interstate 35; U.S. Hwy 2; U.S. Hwy 53

Railways Serving Port

4

Foreign Trade Zone

Yes

Acres

53

Operator

Duluth Seaway Port Authority

Rail

The Port of Duluth is a hub for four Class I railroads: Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Canadian National (CN), Canadian Pacific (CP), and Union Pacific (UP). All have switching yards in Superior, Wisconsin, although CN’s primary headquarters is in Proctor. BNSF and CN are main lines into the area, while Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific are branch lines.


Arrowhead Rail

 Name

Main or Branch LIne

Shortline or National

Nearest Switching Yard

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway

Main

National

Duluth, MN; Superior WI

Canadian National

Main

National

Pokegama Yard in Superior WI; Proctor, MN; Two Harbors, MN; Steelton; Keenan

Canadian Pacific Railway

Branch

National

Stinson Yard, Superior, WI

Union Pacific Railway

Branch

National

Itasca Yard, Superior, WI

Shipping & Storage 

The Northland is home to two Foreign Trade Zones: No. 51 in Duluth and No. 259 in International Falls and Ranier.

There are as many as 70 common carriers serving the Northland, and 61 of them have local terminals. There are a dozen bonded warehouses; three of them public.

The Northland has a full complement of FedEx ground and air services as well as United Parcel Service throughout the area.


Shipping and Storage

 Foreign Trade Zones in the Area

Zone Number

Location

Acres

Operator

51

Duluth

2

Duluth Seaway Port Authority; Kate Ferguson, Director of Business Development; (218) 740-5422, kferguson@duluthport.com

259

International Falls/Ranier

13

Koochiching Economics Development Authority; Paul Nevanen, Director; (218) 283-8585; paul@businessupnorth.com

Common Carriers Serving in Area

 

 

 

Courier

N/A

Less than a truckload (LTL)

N/A

Full Truck Load (FTL)

N/A

Air Freight (Domestic)

N/A

Air Freight (International)

N/A

Ocean Freight

N/A

Motor Carriers/Trucks Serving in the Area

 

 

 

Common Carriers

74

Common Carriers with Local Terminals

61

Warehouses Serving in the Area

 

 

 

Bonded

12

Public

3

  Overnight Delivery Service

 

 

 

 

Name

Hub Classification

Latest Pick-Up Time

Earliest Delivery

Next Day Delivery Guarantee

Saturday Delivery

FedEx Express

Second Tier

5:00pm Monday-Friday; 7:00pm Drop-off FedEx Duluth

Varies

Yes

Yes

United Parcel Services

Second Tier

5:30pm; 6:30pm Drop-off only

Varies

Yes

Yes

United States Postal Service Express Mail

Second Tier

8:30pm Monday-Friday; 7:45pm Saturday

Varies

Major metro areas; otherwise two day delivery

Yes