Chesterton Tribune



Seaway shipments up in June, mostly still down for the season

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U.S. ports throughout the Great Lakes uniformly saw increased tonnage in several cargo categories during the month of June, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) is reporting.

“Salt, chemicals, and steel all posted excellent tonnage numbers through June when compared to last year’s figures,” Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the SLSDC, said in a statement released last week. “We’re rapidly making up ground for the slow start to the season imposed by a winter lasting well into April. Our U.S. ports are encouraged by the increase in traffic, most notably salt, registering a double digit percentage increase, dry chemicals which saw a threefold tonnage increase, and high value general cargo on track to top 2.5 million tons.”

Here, shipments at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor were up over 40 percent from the previous year, driven primarily by steel-related cargoes that more than doubled the 2013 mid-year totals, the statement said. Ocean shipments remained steady through the first half of 2014, up slightly from the previous year as a result of continued steel trade with European ports and fertilizer deliveries to local farmers. Through June, the Port handled significant increases in steel (up 130 percent), grain (up 70 percent), limestone (up 25 percent), and minerals (up 20 percent).

“The increases are certainly a good sign for the regional economy, especially in the manufacturing sector,” said Rick Heimann, director of the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

Overall, the St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 28 to June 30 were 11.2 million metric tons, down 7 percent over the same period in 2013. Iron ore and coal--usually solid performers--were both down by 37 and 21 percent respectively. General cargo was up 44 percent overall with steel and project cargo shipments posting increases of 111 and 119 percent over 2013. U.S. grain shipments were down by 8 percent in June over last year. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 25 percent to just over 1 million metric tons. The dry bulk category was also down by 2.5 percent over 2013. However, within that category, stone, salt, cement and gypsum were all in the positive column, with stone at a 78 percent hike.


Posted 7/21/2014