August Seaway Cargo Shipments Up

Press Release
Thursday, September 13, 2012

August Seaway cargo shipments up nearly 7 percent.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported a 6.78 percent increase for total cargo shipments in August – 4.3 million metric tons – compared to August 2011.  For the period March 22 to August 31, year-to-date total cargo shipments were 21.3 million metric tons, up 1.50 percent over the same period in 2011.

“With four months remaining in the 2012 Navigation Season for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, tonnage figures for the month of August remain on the positive side,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.   “The uptick in total cargo transported in August emphasized the strength of shipments of traditional commodities like iron ore and coal, and was a sound indication of the value of the Seaway System for North American exports to Europe and China.”


Demand for shipments of iron ore and coal used in the steel and construction industries continued to drive tonnage numbers for the month of August. Iron ore shipments through the Seaway rose 43 percent in August to 1.4 million metric tons. Year-to-date figures for iron ore were up 31 percent to 6.6 million metric tons.

Coal shipments for power generation and steel production totaled 523 million metric tons in August, an increase of 45 percent from August 2011.  Year-to-date coal shipments rose to 2.7 million metric tons – a 31 percent hike over 2011.  Cement shipments posted a 15 percent increase in August due mainly to ongoing construction work throughout the Great Lakes states.  At the Port of Green Bay, cement shipments were up 24 percent year-to-date to 204 million metric tons.

“Aluminum continues to move through the Port of Oswego at a strong pace, said port director Jonathan Daniels.  “Large shipments, which began arriving in May, have continued. The Board of Directors is currently working through negotiations for the acquisition of additional property adjacent to the Port to accommodate the influx of sows and ingots.”

Project cargo was up 79 percent in August and was the story at the Port of Duluth. The port received two shipments of wind turbines destined for three different projects in the mid-west as companies hurried to beat the production tax credits expiration date.


Grain shipments were down for the fourth straight month due to extreme drought conditions in the U.S. August saw a 32 percent downturn for all grain versus the same month last year. Year-to-date total grain shipments were down 21 percent to 3.5 million metric tons.

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