Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Seaway cargo numbers down but BH port is going great guns

Back To Front Page

The St. Lawrence Seaway is reporting year-to-date total cargo shipments of 23 million metric tons for the period March 22 to Sept. 30.

While this number is down 11 percent over the same period in 2012, U.S. ports continue to beat the odds with increased tonnage in several cargo categories, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) said today.

“At least a dozen ships from Europe unloaded steel products at the ports of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Burns Harbor, and Detroit over the past month, a clear sign that the end of the navigation season is approaching and shippers are working diligently to get products out of the mills and into the Seaway System before the end of the year,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the SLSDC. “Although overall cargo tonnage is down, September provided many positive signs that the next three months will be extremely busy for our ports and terminal operators in the Great Lakes-Seaway System.”

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in particular saw a 16 percent increase in total tonnage through the month of September, putting it on pace for its highest annual total in over six years, the SLSDC noted.

“Steel and steel-related byproducts continue to drive strong shipment numbers through the port in conjunction with a steady increase in other bulk commodities such as coal, fertilizer and limestone,” Port of Indiana-BH Director Rick Heimann said. “Looking ahead, we expect this trend to continue next month as we already have on the books a shipment of distillery tanks from Germany bound for a brewery expansion in Chicago.”

In addition to the uptick in general cargo traffic at the ports, U.S. grain remained a bright spot for the month, the SLSDC said. “Nearly 700,000 metric tons of U.S. grain moved through the system, representing a 27 percent increase year-to-date over 2012. Overall, cargo categories were down. As noted above, steel is driving tonnage for some U.S. ports, but iron ore and coal shipments remained down in September by 18 and 2 percent respectively. Within the dry bulk category, scrap metal was up 22 percent. The liquid bulk category posted an 8.6 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, the 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 10/22/2013