October 6 - Total cargo tonnage transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2014 has already surpassed 2013 levels, driven by a surge in North American import and export activity.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, 24.4 million tonnes of cargo has already been shipped, signifying a 5 percent improvement over 2013's total.

Shipments of general cargo, including specialty steel, heavy machinery and wind turbines, were up 73 percent to 1.9 million tonnes.

At the Port of Hamilton, finished steel imports have risen 150 percent this season. Project cargo including heavy equipment, building components and wind turbines has increased by 164 percent.

Bruce Wood, president and ceo of Hamilton Port Authority, commented: "As the southern Ontario economy continues its recovery, construction and manufacturing are picking up. That translates into growing steel and project cargo tonnages at the Port of Hamilton."

The Port of Oshawa has handled more than 100,000 tonnes of steel rebar so far in 2014. Furthermore, the port's crews loaded twelve 50-tonne transformers onto the general cargo vessel Merwedegracht. The transformers, built by Trench Canada in Pickering, headed for the Port of Duluth-Superior, Minnesota before moving on to substations in Alberta.

Click here to watch a video of the transport, which was handled by Precision Specialized Division.

"This is a great example of how the port is supporting North American industry through short sea shipping, especially when road or rail over a long distance just isn't an option," explained Donna Taylor, president and ceo at Oshawa Port Authority.