Chesterton Tribune

St. Lawrence Seaway cargo numbers up; Port at BH having a banner season

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U.S. Great Lakes-Seaway ports continued to post positive tonnage numbers in November, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation said.

According to a statement released on Tuesday, the Seaway’s year-to-date total cargo shipments from March 22 to Nov. 30 were 33 million metric tons, up 1.23 percent from the same period last year.

“With only one of the big three commodities, coal, bettering last year’s pace by 22,000 metric tons, the year-to-date performance of other bulk commodities like petroleum products (up 80 percent), salt (up 32 percent), scrap metal (up 49 percent), and other general cargo like wind turbine components (up 50 percent), have kept this year’s Seaway tonnage on a par with 2010,” says Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Vessel transits are up 7 percent and, with an expected strong performance in December, we’re within striking distance of meeting a 2 percent increase in tonnage over last season.”

Coal shipments, down at most Great Lakes ports, showed an uptick in Indiana. “Even with a month left in the shipping season, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled more cargo this year than any other year since 2006,” Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper said. “Our shipments of steel, coal, fertilizer, wheat, limestone, oil and road salt have all well-surpassed last year’s final totals. We were fortunate to have a spike in our coal business and handled nearly four times as much coal as we did in 2010. We’ve also had large volumes of barge shipments moving steel, fertilizer, grain, asphalt and project cargo within the Lakes and through the Mississippi River system to and from the Gulf of Mexico.”

St. Lawrence Seaway shipments of iron ore and coke were up at 55 percent and 14 percent respectively compared to November 2010. Coal shipments totaled 410,000 metric tons in November, a 9 percent decrease from the same month last year. Total grain shipments for November were 1.4 million metric tons, down 13 percent from 2010.

“The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and annually generates $14.1 billion in salary and wages, $33.5 billion in business revenue, and $4.6 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes,” the statement said. “North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers, and power generators depend on the 164 million metric tons of essential raw materials and finished products that are moved annually on the system. This vital trade corridor saves companies $3.6 billion per year in transportation costs compared to the next least-costly land-based alternative.”

Posted 12/14/2011