Cargo included coal, lumber, grain, and iron, much of it bound for Baltimore or Philadelphia.
A copy of a detailed survey blueprint of the entire canal system including structures and property ownership details was donated (date unknown) by the Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation to Millersville University (assessed on 10/06/2016 in the MU Archives at Sp. Residents of the rival port city of Philadelphia, fearing loss of trade to Baltimore, argued against the proposal.
Of its total length, 30 miles (48 km) were in Pennsylvania and 13 miles (21 km) in Maryland.
Though rivalry between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland, delayed its construction, the finished canal brought increased shipments of coal and other raw materials to both cities from Pennsylvania's interior.