A resurgence of iron ore and coal shipments combined with a healthy increase in grain exports to drive an upward trend on the St. Lawrence Seaway as the current shipping season comes to an end. Demand for construction materials and general cargo shipments also boosted October’s numbers.
The Seaway reported total year-to-date shipments reached 27.1 million metric tons through Oct. 31, an increase of 17.5 percent over the same period in 2009.
Year-to-date shipments of iron ore for 2010 were up 52.6 percent to 7.9 million metric tons compared to last year. Coal tonnage increased 22 percent to 2.8 million metric tons. Total grain shipments increased 4 percent to 5.9 million metric tons.
By The Numbers: U.S. Global Goods Trade, $ Volume.
Bulk materials, which include among other items construction materials such as stone, cement and gypsum, increased 11 percent to 1.5 million metric tons in October compared to the same month in 2009. General cargo, comprised of steel slabs, coils and project cargo like wind power components, rose 27 percent compared to the same month in 2009.
“Shipment numbers are continuing to remain strong month-to-month, indicating that the season will finish well ahead of 2009,” said Bruce Hodgson, director of marketing for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “The world demand for grains out of the U.S. and now more recently from Ontario and Quebec has been a great boost for Seaway traffic and really shows how vital this transportation corridor is to respond to sudden changes in global markets.”
U.S. ports benefited from the trend. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority reported overall tonnage up 20 percent over the 2009 season led by a nearly 46 percent increase in iron ore and a 27 percent increase in coal shipments.
“The Port of Toledo has had a much stronger season this year over last and we continue to anticipate a strong finish to this season,” said Paul L. Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “Midwest Terminals of Toledo, our general cargo facility, unloaded project cargo for Toledo’s BP Husky refinery this season and will be managing the delivery of wind turbines this week. Unique cargo like this is exactly why we added twin Liebherr Mobile Harbor Cranes to the equipment roster at the Port of Toledo.”
The new cranes accomplish twice the production of the port’s older equipment, said Joseph Cappel, director of cargo development for the Port Authority. “Over the winter, spreader bars and grapples will arrive enabling the cranes to handle pig iron, project cargo, containers and other products,” he said.
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway waterway annually generates $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue.
-- Contact Thomas L. Gallagher at email@example.com.