Chesterton Tribune



Seaway cargo numbers still down for the year; Port of Indiana Burns Harbor bucks trend

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The St. Lawrence Seaway is reporting year-to-date total cargo shipments, through Oct. 31, of 28 million metric tons, down 7 percent from the year-ago period.

“With only two months left in the shipping season, U.S. ports are hustling to move as much cargo as possible,” the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) said in a statement released today.

“The Seaway’s principal commodities--iron ore, coal and grain--helped move the scales in the right direction for cargo tonnage handled on the Great Lakes-Seaway System,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for SLSDC. “Although the bi-national waterway figures are still below last year’s levels, we’re seeing solid evidence that the final two months of the 2013 navigation season will be extremely busy for our shipping industry.”

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, in contrast, saw a 16-percent increase in total tonnage through the month of October marking the sixth consecutive month of increased shipments for the port this year.

“An increase in coke, steel, and steel-related products as well as limestone are among this month’s drivers,” said Rick Heimann, port director for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. “Additionally, the port received a project cargo shipment of 29 distillery tanks carried by a charter vessel out of Antwerp and bound for a brewery expansion in Chicago.”

"With 35 million tons of maritime shipments being handled along Indiana’s coastline by an extensive logistical network and infrastructure, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is well positioned to serve customers throughout the Midwest,” Heimann said. “We truly appreciate all the companies that have trusted us with their business which has allowed us to experience the volume growth over the last six months.”

In addition to the uptick in general cargo traffic at the ports, U.S. grain remained a bright spot for the month, SLSDC said. Nearly 1 million metric tons of U.S. grain moved through the system, representing a 6 percent increase year-to-date over 2012. Overall, cargo categories were down.

As noted , steel is driving tonnage for some U.S. ports, but iron ore and coal shipments remained down in October by 12.5 and 3 percent respectively. Within the dry bulk category, scrap metal was up 49 percent. The liquid bulk category posted a 10-percent jump over the same time in 2012.

“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,” SLSDC 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 11/14/2013