Wind Energy Lifts Great Lakes Shipping in August

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported gains in both traditional and project cargo for the month of August. Year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period from March 22, 2019 through August 31, 2019 were 20.9 million metric tons, a decrease of just over 3 percent compared to 2018.

In August, the Seaway saw year-over-year (YOY) increases in salt (in preparation for winter), ores and concentrates, other general cargo, stone, and cement and clinkers.  Project cargo continues to be good news for the U.S. Great Lakes ports of Toledo, OH, Bay City, MI and Duluth, MN; with vessels arriving with windmill components, large steel structures and machinery.

Craig H. Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation said, “Shipments of project cargo, particularly windmill components, remained strong in August.  We are also seeing solid gains in dry bulk commodities as we head into what is traditionally the busiest time of the Seaway navigation season.”

Top Performing Cargos for August 2019 Year-to-date

Commodity: Metric Tons: Percent (%) increase* compared YOY to 2018:
Salt 1,853,000 mt 23.7%*
Cement & Clinkers 1,131,000 mt 1%*
Stone 348,000 mt 10.5%*
Ores & Concentrates 198,000 mt 81.3%*
Other General Cargo 73,000 mt 99.4%*

*Rounded to the nearest tenth

Along with an increased focus on shipping project cargo to the Great Lakes, there was also an increased demand for construction materials in August, spurring economic activity in America. The Port of Duluth-Superior is a prime example of this.

“The Port welcomed four more shipments of wind energy cargo in August, keeping us on a near-record pace for that particular cargo,” said Jayson Hron, Director of Communications and Marketing, Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Although project cargo does not fall into its own category, wind energy and project cargo have played a role in pushing the Port’s overall tonnage slightly ahead of 2018 and the five-year average.