Merchant shipping: A nation's shipping fleet (merchant navy, merchant marine, merchant fleet) consists of the ships operated by civilian crews to transport passengers or cargo from one place to another. Merchant shipping also includes water transport over the river and canal systems connecting inland destinations, large and small. For example, during the early modern era, cities in the Hanseatic League began taming Northern Europe's rivers and harbors. And, for instance, the Saint Lawrence Seaway connects the port cities on the Great Lakes in Canada and the United States with the Atlantic Ocean shipping routes; while the various Illinois Canals connect the Great Lakes and Canada with New Orleans. Ores, Coal, and grains can travel along the rivers of the American midwest to Pittsburgh, or Birmingham. Professional mariners are merchant seaman, merchant sailor, and merchant mariner, or simply seaman, sailor, or mariners. The terms "seaman" or "sailor" may refer to a member of a country's navy.