Skip to Main Content
Newsroom

St. Lawrence Seaway Cargo Season Off to Strong Start

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Julia Fields (613) 294-8515

Ship transits up 10% due to surges in grain, coal and petroleum products

Ottawa, Ontario (June 14, 2010) — The St. Lawrence Seaway has reported a positive start to the shipping season with significant increases in grain, salt, coal and petroleum products during the first two months of activity.

Year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period between March 22 to May 31st were 7.6 million tonnes, up 3.7 per cent over the same period in 2010. Salt shipments increased by 25 per cent to 420,000 tonnes as cities replenished their reserves after a long winter, while coal increased by 14 per cent to 850,000 tonnes.

Total grain shipments increased by 31 per cent to 1.8 million tonnes. Stored Canadian grain continues to be in demand as world grain markets fluctuate due to weather-related problems. U.S. grain shipments have been particularly strong due to extra traffic being diverted to the Seaway following flooding on the Mississippi River trade corridor.

Iron ore shipments were down 39 per cent to 1.6 million tonnes compared to the same period last year primarily due to the idling of the U.S. Steel plant in Hamilton. However, steel slab shipments on the Seaway were up 102 per cent to 80,000 tonnes.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: “The shipping season has got off to a positive start. We’re seeing increases in volumes in almost all areas and in particular in staple cargos like grain, salt and coal. We’re also seeing increased volumes in project cargo, such as wind turbines, going through the System. We continue to be cautiously optimistic going forward. A big part of future activity on the Seaway is going to be dependent on how the U.S. economy continues to move.”

Shipments of petroleum products also increased by 160 per cent to 465,000 tonnes, as Seaway vessels brought in supplies to Canadian communities during a scheduled maintenance outage at the Suncor refinery in Sarnia.

Hodgson said: “We understand that Suncor made a commitment to its customers to continue to bring in supplies during its planned maintenance outage. This highlights the key role that the Great Lakes- Seaway system plays in creating a robust logistics network that can re-balance critical flows of supplies into the Canadian heartland.”

The number of vessel transits through the St. Lawrence Seaway were up 10 per cent over the same period last year. St. Catharines-based Algoma Central reported a resurgence of activity in grain, iron ore, salt and oil shipments. “We are very pleased to see further strengthening in Great Lakes – St. Lawrence shipping demands this year. Due to our strong order book we have called an additional four ships into service this year over and above our original plans,” said Wayne Smith, Algoma’s Senior VP Commercial.

Paul Pathy, President and co-CEO of Fednav Group, said: “The 2011 navigational season has got off to a good start during its first two months. Our ocean-going vessels have been bringing in steel, minerals, and fertilizers into Great Lakes ports and taking out grain to international markets and we’re optimistic that the pace of activity will continue in the coming months.”

Montreal-based Fednav Group, the largest ocean-going user of the St. Lawrence Seaway, is adding capacity to its ocean-going Lakers fleet with a $100 million investment in three new state-of-the-art vessels. The first of these more environmentally-friendly ships, the Federal Yukina, was welcomed in a ceremony at the Port of Hamilton last week.

Another bright spot in early season activity was a 177 per cent uptick in general cargo shipments as international vessels brought in wind turbine products to the Port of Thunder Bay and other ports. In May, the Port of Thunder Bay received the first of three ships carrying 43 complete Siemens wind turbines from Denmark. The next two ships will arrive in June. It will take two and half months to truck the giant components to the Greenwich Wind Farm in Dorion, situated 75km east of Thunder Bay.

“We have worked with Siemens, Vestas and Enercon over the last few years and made rail, road and other infrastructure improvements to better accommodate these types of cargoes. We’re now in the position where the Port of Thunder Bay is a preferred handler of wind turbine components to go out to Western Canada,” said Guy Jarvis, director of engineering and harbour master for Thunder Bay Port Authority.

For Interviews Contact:

Andrew Bogora, Communications and Public Relations Officer, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation on (613) 932-5170 x 3285.

Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the economic contribution and environmental sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes region. The Marine Delivers initiative is administered by the American Great Lakes Ports Association in the United States, and the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Canada. For more information,visit the Marine Delivers Web site at www.marinedelivers.com.

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