St. Lawrence Seaway Reports Strong August Tonnage Numbers

St. Lawrence Seaway traffic continues to see steady growth in 2018 with year-to-date total cargo shipments through August of 21.4 million metric tons, a 4 percent increase over the same period last year.

Total vessel transits were up 5 percent over the same time in 2017, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation reported.
Year-to-date tonnages for specific cargoes include:
• coal—1.4 million metric tons, a 30.1 percent increase from the same period last year;
• U.S. grain—1.09 million metric tons, a 31.1 percent increase;
• liquid bulk—2.8 million metric tons; a 33.4 percent increase;
• ore and concentrates—97,000 metric tons; a 180.8 percent increase;
• pig iron—110,000 metric tons; a 61.1 percent increase; and
• steel slabs—427,000 metric tons; a 51 percent increase.

“We are encouraged by the strong Seaway tonnage numbers realized in August,” said Craig H. Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “The overall 4 percent increase in total cargo compared to the same time frame last year—March 29 to August 31—reflects solid gains in U.S. grain exports and liquid bulk commodities. The Seaway enjoyed its strongest August over the last four years. This is good news as we pass the mid-point of the navigation season.”

The U.S. ports of Cleveland, Ohio, and Burns Harbor, Ind., reported notable activity in August.

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The Port of Cleveland’s international tonnage increased by 10 percent in August when compared to August 2017.

“Our project cargo sector remains very strong as we continue to handle large generators and transformers,” said David S. Gutheil, chief commercial officer for the Port of Cleveland. “We also welcomed eight calls by Victory Cruise Lines in August, which is our busiest month in the cruise sector since that business started in 2017. The port will welcome a total of 22 passenger vessels in 2018, and we have already booked more than 30 calls in 2019.”

Meanwhile, Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor Director Ian Hirt said that port has become an international hub for heavy-lift and project cargo.

“We saw our August 2018 tonnage increase 24 percent over last August,” he said. “For large shipments of specialized cargo like wind turbines, brewery tanks or machinery, shippers can realize significant savings by keeping the cargo on water as long possible, rather than dealing with the hassle, permitting and costs to drive oversized loads to or from the East Coast or West Coast. Having ocean access in Indiana is a tremendous advantage for Midwest shippers.”

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System extends 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Approximately 160 million tons of cargo travels over the system on an annual basis, supporting more than 237,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity.