St. Lawrence Seaway System Plays Critical Role in Global Cargo Movement

American and Canadian ports in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system traded with a total of 29 countries in July. Shipments of commodities including wind energy components, asphalt and steel slab all showed notable increases. Year-to-date total tonnage—from the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway on April 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020—increased to 15.6 million metric tons (mt), but overall tonnage is down 8 percent compared to this time last year.

Countries That Moved Cargo Through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system in July

The Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, Craig H. Middlebrook said, “Cargo activity during July reflects the global connectivity of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, with trade to over 29 countries this month alone.  The Seaway provides a seamless supply chain with a connected network to move commodities to and from international markets.  In particular, components for wind energy infrastructure were moving with increasing pace last month and these shipments are likely to continue to be strong through the navigation season.”

Top-performing commodities through July 2020

International Shipments Through the St. Lawrence Seaway System Keep American Ports Busy

Continuing strong cargo movements this season, both the Port of Toledo and Ports of Indiana are benefiting from a notable increase in international shipping traffic though the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In July, the Port of Toledo handled a total of eight international shipments. Among the Port’s noteworthy Seaway activity were imports of aluminum from Sept Iles, Quebec, sugar from Morocco and pig iron from Ukraine. Additionally, the Port exported two shipments in July—a shipment of U.S. soybeans to Egypt and a shipment of petroleum coke to Brazil.

“Over 3.8 million tons of cargo have been handled on 210 vessel calls through July in Toledo alone,” said Joseph Cappel, VP of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “The impact of moving all that cargo via marine transportation provides savings for shippers through economies of scale at a time when they need those savings the most.”

Similarly, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor noted strong Seaway activity during the month of July, welcoming seven Seaway imports. Among the shipments were steel products from Germany and Holland, foundry coke from Poland, and components for natural gas electrical plants from China, Thailand and Vietnam.