The St. Lawrence Seaway reported a 6.78 percent increase for total cargo
shipments in August—4.3 million metric tons—compared to August 2011.
For the period March 22 to Aug. 31, year-to-date total cargo shipments were
21.3 million metric tons, up 1.5 percent over the same period in 2011.
“With four months remaining in the 2012 Navigation Season for the Great
Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, tonnage figures for the month of August
remain on the positive side,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade
development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “The
uptick in total cargo transported in August emphasized the strength of
shipments of traditional commodities like iron ore and coal, and was a sound
indication of the value of the Seaway System for North American exports to
Europe and China.”
Demand for shipments of iron ore and coal used in the steel and construction
industries continued to drive tonnage numbers for the month of August. Iron
ore shipments through the Seaway rose 43 percent in August to 1.4 million
metric tons. Year-to-date figures for iron ore were up 31 percent to 6.6
million metric tons.
Coal shipments for power generation and steel production totaled 523 million
metric tons in August, an increase of 45 percent from August 2011.
Year-to-date coal shipments rose to 2.7 million metric tons – a 31 percent
hike over 2011.
Cement shipments posted a 15 percent increase in August due mainly to
ongoing construction work throughout the Great Lakes states.
Project cargo was up 79 percent in August and was the story at the Port of
Duluth. The port received two shipments of wind turbines destined for three
different projects in the Midwest as companies hurried to beat the
production tax credits expiration date.
Grain shipments were down for the fourth straight month due to extreme
drought conditions in the U.S. August saw a 32 percent downturn for all
grain versus the same month last year. Year-to-date total grain shipments
were down 21 percent to 3.5 million metric tons.
“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 Saint Lawrence Seaway Development
Corporation 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