September 8 - Total cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway has surpassed 2013 levels, with 20 million tonnes transiting the waterway between March 25 and August 31, up 3 percent year-on-year.
Heavy ice coverage delayed the start of the 2014 shipping season following one of the worst winters on record. Despite this early setback the recovery has been strong, fuelled by an influx of general cargo tonnage. Specialty steel and metals for the construction and automotive industries, as well as oversize project cargo, topped 1.5 million tonnes, up 66 percent year-on-year.
Total grain shipments (including the US and Canada) have surged 73 percent year-on-year to 5.6 million tonnes in 2014; year-to-date, dry bulk transiting the seaway amounted to 4.9 million tonnes.
"The fact that Seaway shipments have not only recovered after the season's icy start but have now surpassed 2013 levels is testament to the navigation system's resiliency. Vessels have been extremely busy carrying grain for export, steel and aluminum for the US automotive industry and materials for construction and this level of activity is expected to continue until the end of year," stated Stephen Brooks, president, Chamber of Marine Commerce.
Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, added: "It's taken several months to even get close to catching up from the icy start to this shipping season but, by mid-summer, cargo shipments through the Port of Duluth-Superior had rebounded significantly.
"The Port has shown strong gains, particularly in general cargo handling and iron ore shipments. In fact, one-third of the iron ore that shipped out of Duluth-Superior through July was bound for Canadian steel mills or transloaded at a Canadian port on the Seaway for overseas export. Here at our Port Terminal in Duluth, we've welcomed six ships from Europe loaded with mining equipment, wind turbine components and other energy-related cargoes as well as a Kaolin clay shipment from Brazil…and another half-dozen general cargo shipments are on the books for fall."