Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Port of Indiana Burns Harbor bucks negative cargo trend in August

Back To Front Page

While total cargo movements through the St. Lawrence Seaway in August remained in the negative column (down 9 percent over 2012), the 19.3 million metric tons of cargo moved through the system represented an improvement over last month’s statistics, the Saint Lawrence Seaway System (SLSS) said in a statement released on Monday.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, on the other hand, bucked that general trend, reporting a 28 percent increase in August’s shipments over the year-ago period’s and an eight-month total which is 21 percent ahead of last year’s pace. The 2013 growth was driven by significant increases in shipments of fertilizer, semi-finished steel, as well as steel-related raw materials and byproducts.

“We have had four consecutive months of increased shipments,” said Rick Heimann, port director for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. “Our port companies handle a diverse mix of cargoes, but being located in the steel capital of North America certainly has a tremendous impact on volumes coming through this port on ocean, lake and barge routes.”

Construction is currently underway at the Port of Indiana on significant infrastructure improvements, including a mainline rail reconstruction project scheduled to be finished by the end of September.

“Over the past three years, we have upgraded the majority of the mainline rail track throughout the port,” Heimann said. “Maintaining modern infrastructure and efficient multimodal transportation connections are very important to our port customers.”

In addition to the uptick in general cargo traffic at the ports, U.S. grain was also a bright spot for the month.

“U.S. grain shipped through the Seaway has risen 37 percent through the end of August over the same period last season, suggesting American wheat, corn and soybean exports through the St. Lawrence Seaway System may enjoy an excellent year if weather conditions cooperate through harvest in October,” said Rebecca Spruill, Director of Trade Development. “Liquid bulk cargoes are also faring well having topped 2 million tons, 6 percent above their level at 2012’s mid-season juncture.”

Additionally, as reported by the St. Lawrence Seaway, year-to-date cargo shipments for the period March 22 to August 31 were 19.3 million metric tons. Overall, cargo categories were mixed. While steel production throughout the Great Lakes states is beginning to make a comeback, iron ore and coal shipments remained down in August by 15 and 2 percent respectively. Within the dry bulk category, scrap metal was up 3 percent as well as pig iron at 6 percent.

“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 statement 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 9/17/2013