North American commodities used in the steel and construction industries
continued to fuel an uptick in tonnage numbers along the St. Lawrence Seaway
System, with international demand for shipments of iron ore and coal driving
imports in May, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation said in a
statement released today.
The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for
the period March 22 to May 31 were 8.9 million metric tons, up 3.7 percent
over the same period in 2011.
“Seaway tonnage increases this year continue to nudge upward to 5 percent
overall when compared to the same time frame last year,” said Rebecca
Spruill, Director of Trade Development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway
Development Corporation. “Double digit figures were noted in coal and iron
ore, and general cargo is up almost 7 percent.”
May also saw a rise in international vessels delivering wind turbine
components for wind farm projects in the American mid-west and western
Canada. “The Port of Ogdensburg welcomed three ships carrying wind
components and expect four more vessels in June,” Spruill said. “Shippers
are pushing to transport turbines to wind farms before year’s end in order
to take advantage of the expiring tax credit deadline.”
Iron ore shipments through the Seaway rose 41 percent to 1.3 million metric
tons in May. Year-to-date figures for iron ore were up 24 percent to 2.5
million metric tons. Bulk materials, which include pig iron, stone, and
cement, realized a year-to-date increase of 8 percent to 2.3 million metric
Meanwhile, coal shipments for power generation and steel production rose to
1.1 million metric tons—a 31 percent hike over 2011—and salt tonnage posted
a 37 percent rise in May to 295,000 metric tons as North American cities
continue to replenish their reserves for road salt.
Grain shipments, however, were down on both sides of the border, the
statement said. May saw a 22 percent downturn for all grain in 2012 versus
the same time last year.
U.S. ports along the system remain optimistic about the shipping season.
The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled its first shipment of wind
components in May and has seen major increases in several steel products as
well as industrial and agricultural cargoes resulting in a 6 percent
increase in 2012 shipments through the first five months. There have also
been significant increases in early shipments of fertilizer, corn and
soybeans, which are 10 times greater than at this point last year.
“We’ve seen a
major increase in steel coils and scrap metal shipments this year as well as
limestone and magnesite, which is a promising sign of continued recovery in
the region’s strong manufacturing and industrial base,” said Port of
Indiana-Burns Harbor Director Anthony Kuk. “We’re also seeing new outbound
shipments of slag material for Phoenix Services, which is one of three
companies opening new facilities at the port in 2012.”