Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping rebounded in August due to a surge in U.S. grain exports, iron ore shipment improvements and a steady flow of raw materials for manufacturing and construction.
St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments were up 8 percent compared to the same month last year, according to Stephen Brooks, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.
“U.S. grain exports now match last season’s strong performance. Iron ore shipments have improved as Canadian and U.S. mines have boosted production and we continue to see steady demand for aluminum, cement and asphalt,” Brooks added.
The August acceleration lifted year-to-date Seaway cargo shipments (from March to August) to 17.3 million metric tons. While this number is down 7.5 percent compared to the same period in 2015, the busier August narrowed the gap.
U.S. grain shipments via the Seaway for the year-to-date period totaled 1.1 million metric tons with wheat, corn and soybeans being loaded in ports such as Duluth-Superior and Toledo, Ohio.
“Grain shipments through the Port of Duluth-Superior have been running well ahead of last year – some 18 percent as of early last month,” said Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.
Year-to-date domestic general cargo shipments are up 23 percent compared to last season, with aluminum ingots shipped by McKeil Marine from the Aluminerie Alouette plant in Sept-Iles, Quebec to Oswego, NY, Detroit, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.
Cement shipments have topped over a million metric tons for the season, while liquid bulk including asphalt and petroleum products reached 2.2 million metric tons, up 29 percent over the same period last year.
The Port of Green Bay benefitted from the activity with monthly cargo up 16.7 percent compared to the same month in 2015.
“Ports and ship owners are now gearing up for the autumn, traditionally the busiest time of the season,” the Chamber of Marine Commerce said.