Total cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway have now surpassed 2013 levels despite one of the most difficult starts to the shipping season in years due to ice coverage, according to The Chamber of Marine Commerce.
Total cargo tonnage from March 25 to August 31 reached 20 million metric tons (MT), up 3 percent over the same period last year. The strong recovery has been fuelled by grain exports, increases in road salt inventories for Great Lakes municipalities and an influx of specialty steel and other metals for the automotive and construction industries.
Construction materials such as stone and cement have also been in strong demand.
Total grain shipments (including U.S. and Canadian) have reached 5.6 MT, up 73 percent over last year. U.S. grain so far this season has totaled 630,000 MT, up 13 percent.
General cargo tonnage – including specialty steel imports as well as aluminum and oversized project cargo like machinery or wind turbines – has topped 1.5 million MT, up 66 percent.
Speciality steel is shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the ports of Cleveland, Detroit, Burns Harbor, Toledo and Milwaukee, and then further processed by U.S. manufacturers for use in the automotive industries.
Year-to-date dry bulk cargo totaled 4.9 million MT, with strong increases in construction materials such as stone and cement, as well as road salt.