Skip to Main Content
Newsroom

Seaway crucial for vital cargo ahead of winter

NEWS RELEASE

Shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway remained strong in October as North American manufacturers and cities stockpiled vital materials in advance of the coming winter and farmers relied on the waterway to export the new harvest.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway, total cargo tonnage from March 25 to October 31 reached 29.6 million metric tons, up 4.5 per cent over the same period last year. Robust grain and steel shipments have more than offset a drop in iron ore shipments through the Seaway.

New grain harvests helped year-to-date total grain shipments (for Canada and the U.S.) reach 8.4 million metric tons, up 49.9 per cent. Grain shipments from Toledo to Ontario and Quebec, for example, continued to be strong in October due to demand for corn for ethanol production and animal feed.

Steel shipments to U.S. ports such as Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Burns Harbor and Milwaukee for use in the automotive and construction industries tallied 1.8 million metric tons for the season, up 76 per cent.

These increases have been offset by a 26.5 per cent decrease in iron ore volumes through the system and an 11 per cent decrease in coal tonnage.

With winter weather just weeks away, municipal stockpiling of road salt took on a new sense of urgency. Salt shipments via the Seaway now total 2.3 million metric tons, up by 34 per cent this season.  NA mines have been working hard to replenish city reserves in Canada and the U.S. and the Seaway is also seeing salt imported from overseas to meet the high demands. For example, salt is being transported out of the Port of Cleveland and Fairport Harbor, Ohio to U.S. towns all over the Great Lakes as well as to Ontario and Quebec. 

Cement products, destined for construction projects across Great Lakes U.S. states, totaled 1.2 million metric tons, up 9 per cent. Ships have been busy transporting clinker and other raw materials to St. Marys Cement’s (Group Votorantim) plants in Charlevoix and Detroit, Michigan, as well as moving finished products to their terminals throughout the Lakes.

Quotes

  • Stephen Brooks, President, Chamber of Marine Commerce— “Autumn is typically the St. Lawrence Seaway’s busiest time as North American industries stockpile raw materials in advance of the winter months and cities across Canada and the U.S. bring in much-needed salt for road safety. In October, farmers started shipping the new grain harvest via the Seaway to countries around the world. After losing sailing days due to ice at the start of the season and with only two months left before the end of season, Great Lakes ships are working flat out.  This frantic pace is necessary from now to the end of December to make up for lost time.”
  • Captain Scott Bravener, President of Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. and Lower Lakes Transportation Company— “The demand for salt has gone up dramatically this season.  City reserves everywhere were completely depleted from last year’s winter. In the U.S., we have been transporting road salt out of the Port of Cleveland and Fairport Harbor to U.S. towns all over the Great Lakes, as well as through the Seaway to Toronto, Hamilton, Oshawa and Valleyfield, Quebec.”
  • William Asselstine, Vice-President Logistics, St. Marys Cement (Group Votorantim)— “U.S. construction activity is beginning to pick up, which has had a direct effect on cement demand.  Despite the long winter and slow start to the construction season, during the last few months, ships have been very busy transporting clinker and other raw materials through the St. Lawrence Seaway to our cement plants in Charlevoix and Detroit, Michigan and Bowmanville, Ontario as well as moving finished products to our terminals throughout the Great Lakes.  This is the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible way for us to move these materials.”

 

Quick Facts

  • The bi-national Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway marine industry generates $35 billion in business revenues and supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

 

Flickr

Download photos at CMC’s Flickr site:

 

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 150 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international shipowners.  The Chamber represents the interests of its members by addressing government issues affecting marine transportation.  Advocacy extends to federal, state/provincial and municipal levels of government.

Media Contact

Julia Fields

Chamber of Marine Commerce

613-294-8515

3713

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 100 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system’s significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:
Jason Card
Chamber of Marine Commerce
jcard@cmc-ccm.com
(613) 447 5401