Aggregates Shipments Spike Higher on St. Lawrence Seaway

Total cargo shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway from March 29 to Sept. 30 reached 25.7 million metric tons, up 4.1 percent over the same time period in 2017.

Stone/aggregates shipments totaled 379,000 metric tons, up 38 percent over the same time period in 2017.

“While salt tonnage remains down compared to 2017 volumes, we saw a positive change with a healthy increase in salt shipments in the last couple of months,” said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “As we get closer to winter, with some parts of the Midwest already experiencing snowfall, ports throughout the Great Lakes are replenishing their salt supplies to prepare for the weather. September was also a positive month for cement, stone and gypsum.”  

At the Port of Green Bay, total tonnage for the season is up 7 percent from this time last year. In September, the top shipments were cement, coal and limestone, however gypsum made its first entrance into the Port since 2014. The vessel, Pere Marquette, brought approximately 4,700 tons of gypsum from Michigan to Green Bay, for use by GLC Minerals.

Also, for the first time since 2014, the Port is on course for its best year, thanks primarily to coal and petroleum products. “Between the increased shipments of coal and petroleum products throughout the season, the Port of Green Bay is on pace to reach 2 million metric tons of cargo moved in 2018,” said Dean Haen, Port of Green Bay director. “While salt deliveries are down for this time of year due to the salt mine strike in Canada this past July, we are making plans to get enough salt deliveries scheduled for winter road maintenance before the end of the year.”  

Toledo also saw an uptick in salt shipments in September as companies begin to build stockpiles for the winter. The Port expects a strong finish to the season and has a busy schedule of international vessel traffic at the general cargo terminal operated by Midwest Terminals. 

The weather has slowed down the shipments to the Port of Duluth-Superior this fall, however the Port reports the demand for grain and iron ore shipments remain strong.  

“Momentum carried over from August, with shipments of agricultural products running almost 20 percent ahead of last season, and year-to-date iron ore loadings through September already approaching 14 million short tons, a full 23 percent ahead of the five-year average,” said Adele Yorde, Duluth Seaway Port Authority spokesperson. 

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