The St. Lawrence Seaway last year saw its lowest volume in nearly 40 years, the seaway’s management company announced.
By the close of the seaway’s 50th official season on Dec. 28, 30.5 million metric tons of cargo had traversed the river that flows from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, a 25 percent drop from 2008. Richard Corfe, president of St. Lawrence Seaway Management, said the drop in volume was due to the economic downturn of the steel industry.
On Jan. 8, the Lake Carriers Association reported that Great Lakes vessel operators transported 23.5 million tons, the lowest volume in 25 years. Much of the decline was due to shipments of iron ore and coal that were the lowest since the 1930s.
Corfe said the economic downturn shows the importance of diversifying the seaway’s revenue base. He noted that business incentives had attracted 1.6 million metric tons of new business, contributing $2 million in tolls.
The seaway is playing a role in short sea shipping initiatives on the lakes, including a new container-on-barge service between Montreal and the port of Hamilton, Ontario.
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