Growth in American Manufacturing & Construction Accelerates in Q4 2018, Fueled by Great Lakes Seaway Shipping

Washington, DC (December 19, 2018) – The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership reports an increase in St. Lawrence Seaway traffic with year-to-date (YTD) total cargo shipments through November of 36 million metric tons, a five percent increase over the same timeframe last year. Total vessel transits were up by six percent over the same time in 2017.


Shipping Supports American Manufacturing & Construction

The increased tonnage in November 2018 is attributed to the increase in demand for commodities and aggregates used in manufacturing, construction and infrastructure development.

“Across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System we have seen an increase in tonnage at American Great Lakes ports such as the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority receiving structural steel for the new Cleveland Cliffs manufacturing facility as well as other inbound commodities such as salt and aluminum,” says Craig H. Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “This trend continues with the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, where asphalt used in the construction of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, was shipped to key markets.”

“We had a great November,” says Kyle Burleson, Executive Director at Detroit Wayne County Port Authority. “Nicholson Terminal & Dock Company at the Port of Detroit handled significant tonnage in November. In November alone, Nicholson Terminal handled 35,000 net tons of cargo at the Port of Detroit Cargo Terminal – and that’s just one of the terminals in the Port. The demand for steel is up and American manufacturing is moving – here in Michigan and across the Great Lakes region.”

Additionally, iron ore from the Port of Duluth-Superior was moved throughout the Great Lakes Seaway System, supporting manufacturing facilities.


Top Performing Cargoes

In addition to the aforementioned ports, traffic growth in November was supported by steel shipments at Port Milwaukee (Wisconsin), aluminum shipments at the Port of Oswego (New York,) and project cargo movement at the Port of Ogdensburg (New York). The following top performing cargoes sustained Seaway traffic well above the five-year average:

Cargo Metric Tons Percent Increase*
Liquid Bulk 4.1 million 17%
Coal 2.3 million 18%
U.S. Grain 2.1 33%
Cement & Clinkers 1.7 million 15%
Steel Slabs 610,000 25%
Stone 525,000 22%
Asphalt 321,000 44%
Ores & Concentrates 233,000 122%
Pig Iron 192,000 17%

*All percentage increases compared to the same time last year


About the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership

The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership is a coalition of leading US and Canadian maritime organizations working to enhance public understanding of the benefits of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes Seaway region of North America. The organization manages an education-focused communications program, sponsors research and works closely with media, policy makers, community groups, allied industries, environmental stakeholders and the general public to highlight the positive attributes of marine transportation.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System is a marine highway that 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.

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