U.S. Ports, Seaway Shipping Reporting Strong Finish to 2018 Season
The St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes ports are reporting strong growth in November cargo volumes that is expected to carry through in the final weeks of the 2018 season.
Overall cargo volumes through the St. Lawrence Seaway from March 29 to November 30 topped 36 million metric tons, up 5.3 per cent over the same period in 2017.
Grain exports and road salt were highlights of activity in November. Seaway salt shipments are ahead of last year’s volumes, totaling 2.2 million metric tons up to the end of November.
Year-to-date U.S. grain volumes via the Seaway have surpassed 2.1 million metric tons, up 33 percent compared to the same period in 2017.
Great Lakes ports have also seen the impact of business growth. The Port of Toledo loaded or unloaded 12 ocean vessels and 56 lakers and barges in November. With total tonnage approaching 8.9 million short tons, it will be a strong finish for the season. The largest gains compared to the 2017 season were in the grain and dry bulk categories.
There was a late-season rush of iron ore and grain activity at the Port of Duluth-Superior in November; something the Port anticipates will continue in December.
The Port also had ship calls of international cargo in November. Early in the month, a shipment of domestically-produced wind blades moved for export through Duluth Cargo Connect via the Great Lakes-Seaway system to Europe. The Port saw its last inbound cargo of kaolin clay from Brazil, which the Port slurries onsite before transporting to papermakers in the region.
The Port of Green Bay is also on pace for a successful season, with 2018 tonnage already topping total tonnage for 2017. The year-to-date total has reached 1,882,855 tons; nearly 50,000 tons over the total for all of last year. The top commodities for the month were limestone and petroleum products.