Cargo shipments down 25% on St. Lawrence Seaway due to late start of season caused by harsh winter
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 6:04 am

With ice from the harsh winter delaying the start of this year’s shipping season, the St. Lawrence Seaway reports total cargo shipped through the Montreal to Lake Ontario section down by nearly 25 percent from last year at the same time.

In the Montreal to Lake Ontario section, which includes Snell and Eisenhower locks near Massena, iron ore shipments are down nearly 42 percent, at 1.09 million metric tons this year so far, compared with 1.87 million metric tons shipped last year through May, according to a monthly report from Seaway authorities today.

The bright spot so far this season is general cargo, which is up by 41 percent, from 443,000 tons last year to 623,000 tons so far in 2014.

But coal shipments are down by nearly half, at 312,000 metric tons this season compared with 617,000 tons last year through May.

Grain shipments are down too, but only by 5.7 percent.

In other categories, liquid bulk is down 39 percent, and dry bulk shipments are down by 27 percent.

Vessel transits through the section are also down, from 632 at this time last year to 454 this year, 28 percent fewer.

Shipping was hampered after the official late-March Seaway opening date this year as U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers were still creating pathways in April for commercial shippers through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway as ice chunks slowed traffic and created backups at the locks, the Coast Guard reported.