Cargo shipping through the St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting North America’s Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, rose 18 per cent in the first four months of the year from the year-before period, signalling a rebound in the manufacturing sector, seaway officials said May 11.
Total cargo shipments rose to nearly 3.7 million tonnes, with iron ore shipments destined for steel manufacturers in Great Lakes region more than doubling to about 1.4 million tonnes.
“It is apparent that the manufacturing industry is on the upswing and driving demand for commodities such as iron ore to make steel, which in turn becomes consumer goods such as automobiles,” said Richard Corfe, president and chief executive of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.
“With the economic rebound being experienced by the core industrial sectors we serve, especially the steel industry, we anticipate a higher level of fleet activity and crew employment levels this season,” said Allister Paterson, president and CEO of Seaway Marine Transport, which operates the largest bulk carrier fleet on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Waterway.
Shipments of coal nearly doubled during the four-month period to 402,000 tonnes.
However, grain shipments slipped 21 per cent to 713,000 tonnes.
The drop in grain cargo reflects an abnormally busy April a year earlier, said Dave Przednowek, senior manager of ocean freight and terminal operations for the Canadian Wheat Board, one of the world’s biggest grain marketers. This year, export markets for durum wheat are softer and spring wheat trade is not as strong via the Atlantic, he said.