Tis The Season To Be Jolly – St. Lawrence Seaway Cargo Up 8.5%

Some End-of-the-Year News from the Chamber of Marine Commerce on the Great Lakes

Posted December 21st,  2017 on Niagara At Large

With just two weeks left of the season, St. Lawrence Seaway cargo volumes are expected to finish ahead of 2016 after a year marked by economic recovery and new business wins.

According to The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, total cargo tonnage from March 20 to November 30 reached 33.6 million metric tons – up 8.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2016. As of Monday, there was still a steady number of ocean-going and domestic ships travelling through the waterway to pick up or unload cargo. This is expected to continue for the balance of the season.

“We’re definitely seeing some impressive cargo gains this year, underscoring the St. Lawrence Seaway’s value as a vital trade gateway. For example, the Seaway is facilitating substantial export movements of iron ore in response to higher ore prices. We are also attracting new business to the waterway thanks to our marketing and incentive programs,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

“An acceleration of Prairie and Ontario grain shipments, which is expected to continue right through December, also figures well into the outlook for a good finish to the 2017 navigation season” emphasized CEO Bowles.

As of the end of November, the Seaway attracted $2.89 million in new business as a result of new business incentives – which includes cargo originating from or heading to new destinations. This included among others petcoke moving from various origins for domestic steelmaking as well as for export; new movements of potash via the Port of Thunder Bay instead of the West Coast and cement from McInnis Cement’s new manufacturing plant in Quebec to terminals at Ste-Catherine, Quebec and the Port of Oshawa.

Year-to-date Seaway iron ore shipments reached 7.4 million metric tons, an increase of 34 per cent driven primarily by U.S. iron ore pellet exports to Asia. Dry bulk shipments (including products such as road salt, stone, gypsum and coke) topped 9 million, up 12 per cent. General cargo (which include steel, aluminum, project cargo) shipments via the Seaway totaled 3.2 million metric tons, up 28 per cent.

Canadian Great Lakes-Seaway ports were also reporting positive news.  

Cargo volumes at the Port of Windsor to the end of November are up 10 per cent.

“The biggest movers this season have been salt, general cargo and Ontario grain but the port has actually seen increases in all types of cargo. Everything’s up and that’s a reflection of the buoyant Windsor economy,” said David Cree, President and CEO of the Windsor Port Authority. 

“Many of the materials moving through the port are destined for local construction and manufacturing. For a second year in a row, grain has been up significantly with huge volumes of canola, soybeans and other grains coming into the ADM terminal to be processed for domestic food and feed inputs, as well as for export overseas.  We’re also expecting a fair amount of stone to come in December for some additional work scheduled on the truck plaza for the Gordie Howe International Bridge.”

The Port of Johnstown, which is situated on the St. Lawrence less than an hour away from the Nation’s Capital, is headed for a record year for salt shipments.  Year-to-date salt shipments to the port at over 484,000 metric tons have already surpassed the five-year average and a further 90,000 metric tons are expected to be delivered by ship before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes.

“The port is the leading destination for the road salt that is used in cities and towns all over Eastern Ontario and even into western Quebec,” says Robert Dalley, general manager of the Port of Johnstown.  “By all predictions, we’re heading for a snowy, cold winter – so it’s important our communities are well prepared for the wintery road conditions ahead. Transporting the salt from Ontario mines by ship via the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence in large volumes helps to keep the cost of this product lower for municipalities, and ultimately taxpayers.”

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system’s significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


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