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  October 19th, 2016 | Written by

Great Lakes-Seaway Shipping Comeback Continues

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  • U.S. grain exports on the St. Lawrence Seaway was up more than five percent over 2015.
  • Liquid bulk shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway are up 25 percent over last year.
  • Overall tonnage on the St. Lawrence Seaway is five percent behind last year.

North American grain and iron ore exports in September have accelerated a rebound in shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Total Seaway year-to-date shipments (March 21 through September 30) reached 21.2 million metric tons. U.S. grain totaled 1.4 million metric tons, up more than five percent over the 2015 season’s already robust performance. Shipments of aluminum, for the auto industry, remained a growth area for several ports including Toledo, Detroit and, Oswego, New York. In addition, liquid bulk shipments, including petroleum, asphalt and other products, totaled 2.5 million metric tons, up 25 percent.

“While overall tonnage is about five percent behind last year, the resurgence in shipping activity that started in August continued last month,” said Raymond Johnston, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, a binational association representing over 150 marine Canadian and U.S. shippers, ports, terminals, marine service providers, and shipowners. “U.S. grain exports are up and we’re seeing a resumption of iron ore exports from ports in the Upper Great Lakes such as Duluth-Superior due to improved world pricing.”

“We continued to outpace last year’s totals for coal, liquids, and general cargo shipments through the Port of Toledo in September,” said Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Aluminum shipments originating in Canada led the way in the general cargo category improving 27 percent over last year. “Grain shipments consisting of imported wheat from Canada and overseas corn exports have also been fairly strong,” Cappel added.

For the Port of Green Bay, September was a strong month with an eight-percent increase in overall tonnage compared to 2015. “Much of the increase continues to be due to shipping of petroleum products,” said Dean Haen, director of the Port of Green Bay. “We’ve also seen a 10 percent increase in limestone shipments coming into our port.”