Seaway cargo tonnage up 8 percent so far this year led by iron ore
Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 12:08 pm

Spring cargo numbers from the St. Lawrence Seaway and U.S. ports are signaling a better year for Great Lakes-Seaway shipping.

Citing figures from the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Chamber of Marine Commerce reports total cargo shipments via the Seaway from the start of the shipping season March 20 through April 30 reached 3.7 million metric tons, up 8 percent from the same period a year ago.

“It’s still very early in the season, but we’re optimistic that 2017 will be a better year for Great Lakes-Seaway shipping,” said Chamber of Marine Commerce President Bruce Burrows. “U.S. iron ore pellet exports to Japan and China that started in the fourth quarter have continued this spring, while U.S. grain shipments remain relatively in line with last year’s strong performance. Road salt volumes are also up over 2016 levels as municipalities replenish their stockpiles throughout the region,” he said.

Year-to-date iron ore shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 800,000 metric tons, up 70 percent over 2016 levels, with Canadian domestic carriers loading U.S. iron ore pellets at Minnesota ports and docks to ship to Quebec, where the cargo is then transferred to larger ocean-going vessels for onward transport to Asia.

Salt shipments via the Seaway so far this year totaled 432,000 metric tons, up 20 percent over the same period in 2016.