Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

St. Lawrence Seaway booming as steel industry rebounds

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The St. Lawrence Seaway has reported a significant rise in iron ore, coal, and grain shipments as it enters the final stretch of the shipping season, the Seaway authority is reporting this week.

Total cargo shipments in November jumped by 28 percent to 4.8 million metric tons compared to the same period last year, with some sections of the Seaway seeing the highest number of ship transits for this time of the year in more than a decade.

Year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period between March 31 and November 30 were 31.9 million metric tons, up 19 percent compared to 2009. The Seaway expects that figure to hit 35 million metric tons before the shipping season concludes at the end of the month.

The Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway saw more than 407 ship transits in November—the highest number for that month in 12 years—as ships brought iron ore and other cargo into the Toronto/Hamilton area and vessels transited through the system with U.S. and Canadian grain destined for overseas markets.

“The double digit tonnage increases we saw in November confirm that an economic rebound from a deep recession is underway,” said Rebecca McGill, director of trade development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “The North American steel industry is faring much better than last year with strong numbers reported for iron ore, coal, coke, and limestone cargoes, while U.S. grain exports are having their best season in more than a decade.”

In November, coal shipments were up 92 percent to 481,000 metric tons compared to the same month in 2009. Coke, used as a fuel in blast furnaces for the manufacture of steel, was up 28 percent to 130,000 metric tons. Iron ore shipments remained strong during the month, up 25 percent at 981,000 metric tons.

Total grain shipments increased by 29 percent in November to 1.8 million metric tons compared to 2009.

Year-to-date figures showed iron ore shipments up 49 percent to 8.9 million metric tons, while grain had increased by 9 percent to 7.8 million metric tons compared to 2009.

McGill added, “The Great Lakes ports of Burns Harbor, Ind., and Duluth, Minn., are regularly seeing ships loaded with wind components as the tonnage for this fast-growing renewable energy industry has more than quadrupled in the Great Lakes Seaway System for 2010 over the preceding year.”

“We’ve seen significant increases in coal, grain and steel movements during 2010,” said Peter Laman, port director for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

“But our biggest increase is in project cargo shipments which are 10 times last year’s totals. This was driven by a few large tank and wind farm construction projects, including one that brought in 11 ships of windmill components. We also had our first exports of U.S. manufactured windmills, which were shipped to Nova Scotia.”

“The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway waterway is responsible for approximately 75,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. and annually generates more than $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue, and $1.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes,” the Seaway authority said.

“This vital trade corridor delivers approximately $3.6 billion in annual cost savings compared to the next least expensive mode of commercial transportation. This provides a competitive advantage for the North American manufacturing, construction, energy and agri-food sectors.”

Posted 12/9/2010




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