Chesterton Tribune



St. Lawrence Seaway grain shipments up but iron ore and coal cargoes down

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Despite a month where cargo totals see-sawed between positive and negative territory, U.S. grain shipments have made a decisive comeback, posting a nearly 50 percent jump from the same time last year, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) said in a statement released this week.

“U.S. grain continues to rebound strongly from last season’s disappointing performance with a 46 percent rise in tonnage, while several shipments within the liquid bulk category posted healthy jumps as the Seaway navigation season approaches midpoint,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the SLSDC.

Even so, the St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 22 to June 30 were 12 million metric tons, down 11.6 percent over the same period in 2012.

“Iron ore and coal, usually solid performers, were both down by 15 percent and 9 percent respectively due to lower steel production,” the statement said. “Total general cargo was down 14 percent to 616,000 metric tons. The liquid bulk category posted a 2.6 percent year-to-date increase to 1.4 million metric tons. The dry bulk category was down 19 percent to 2.7 million metric tons. Within that category, however, scrap metal and pig iron posted upturns of 5 percent and 6 percent respectively.”

“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 7/19/2013