St. Lawrence Seaway Shipping Boosted by Diverse Cargo Mix in September, Heading into Peak Season

The St. Lawrence Seaway today announced a 7.3% increase in year-to-date dry bulk cargo shipments, despite an overall 6.1% decrease in Seaway-wide total tonnage compared to this time last year.

The top-performing cargos through September 2019 include: 

Salt — 2,247,000 metric tons; 14.9% increase

Cement & Clinkers — 1,394,000 metric tons; 2.2% increase

Coke — 929,000 metric tons; 10.9% increase

Gypsum — 370,000 metric tons; 21.8% increase

Ores & Concentrates — 244,000 metric tons; 47.6% increase

“As we head into the busiest few months of the navigation season, robust cargo movements continue at our ports and through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System,” said Craig Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Project cargo continues to be strong and heavy machinery is a leading commodity, with the ports of Cleveland, Toledo, Duluth, Detroit, and Manistee (MI) all reporting September shipments of machinery from foreign markets.”

In addition to an exceptional month for dry bulk in September, American ports saw several noteworthy international Seaway shipments. One port in particular — the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority — handled bulk sugar from Mexico, marking their first shipment of sugar since 2015.

“The same vessel that brought sugar from Mexico to the Port of Toledo sailed up the Maumee River and loaded a combination of soybeans, distiller dry grain (DDG) and corn gluten meal (CGM).  This single vessel discharge and reload is a great example of the diverse cargo mix handled at the Port of Toledo,” said Joseph Cappel, VP of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “With the ability to match export cargos with incoming shipments, the Port of Toledo can provide an efficient and cost-effective solution for shippers.”

Three additional noteworthy international shipments from September:

  • Port of Cleveland received shipments of steel from Germany, Belgium and Sweden.
  • Port of Ogdensburg received a shipment of salt from Chile.
  • Port of Detroit received machinery from South Korea.

Project cargo, especially wind energy cargos, have remained strong for the Seaway this season. The Port of Bay City, Michigan saw two shipments of windmill components from India in September, making a total of five shipments to date this navigation season. The Port of Duluth-Superior also continued receiving shipments of windmill parts in September.

Dry Bulk Puts Port Milwaukee and Port of Green Bay Ahead of 2018 Tonnage

The U.S. Ports of Green Bay and Milwaukee have shown strong activity this year, with notable increases in dry bulk, and have remained ahead of last year’s pace.

The Port of Green Bay reported a 64% increase in domestic limestone imports year-to-date. “We’ve had solid numbers for petroleum and limestone shipments throughout the season and salt shipment are typically strong this time of year with winter months not too far away,” recounted Port of Green Bay Director Dean Haen. “We’re optimistic that we’ll see a good finish for the 2019 shipping season for the Port and for the entire Great Lakes. It’s a good sign for the regional economy.” Powered by Great Lakes shipping, the Port of Green reported their overall year-to-date tonnage is up 17% compared to last year.

Port Milwaukee remains on track for an incredibly successful tonnage year, attributing that success to an approximate 27% boost in dry bulk port activity compared to 2018. The Port also reported it achieved a 48% increase (compared to 2018) in salt tonnage, nearly hauling in one million tons in preparation for winter this season.

“We’re optimistic that the Port will continue to maintain this level of increased performance,” said Port Milwaukee Director Adam Schlicht. “In addition to excellent shipping activities in September, we recently received the nationally prestigious 2019 Overall Award of Communications Excellence from the American Association of Port Authorities and welcomed the season’s final passenger cruise ship, the M.S. HAMBURG, wrapping up Milwaukee’s cruise season with over 3,200 passengers visiting our City in 2019.”