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Canadian Grain Shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway Up 35% in August


Contact: Julia Fields   (613) 294-8515

Canadian Grain Shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway up 35% in August

Ottawa, Ontario (September 19, 2011) — Canadian grain shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway reached 893,000 tonnes in August, a 35 per cent increase compared to the same month last year.

The positive grain picture helped lift the Seaway’s year-to-date total cargo shipments from March 22 to August 31st to 22 million tonnes, up 3.5 per cent from the same period last year.

After a wet spring that forced farmers to leave more than 2.4 million hectares unplanted, the Canadian Wheat Board recently said that the total wheat crop for 2011-2012 was better than expected due to higher production.

Tim Heney, chief executive of the Port of Thunder Bay — where the vast majority of Canadian grain enters the Great Lakes-Seaway system bound for overseas markets — said that the August shipment numbers likely reflected this year’s crop improvements.

Heney said: “The 2010 growing season was particularly difficult and yielded a smaller crop of poorer quality wheat. Although, there has been some weather-related setbacks this year, the crop has improved and that will hopefully continue to be reflected in exports in the coming months.”

The Thunder Bay Port Authority reported handling 693,000 tonnes of grain in August, compared to 458,000 tonnes during the same period last year.

St. Lawrence Seaway shipments of petroleum products and salt remained up 70 per cent and 18 per cent respectively in August compared to the same month last year. Coal shipments totalled 465,000 tonnes in August, a decrease of 30 per cent from the same month last year. Year-to-date coal shipments of 2.2 million tonnes were down 5 per cent. Year-to-date iron ore shipments of 5.4 million were down 20 per cent compared to the same period last year primarily due to the continued closure of the U.S. Steel plant in Hamilton.

Bruce Hodgson, market development director of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said decreases in some cargo categories were likely due to normal summer slowdowns rather than a sign of any economic trend. He added that American grain shipments had decreased to “usual levels” this month. “Last August, we had an unusually high surge in U.S. grain shipments due to Russia’s ban on grain exports. This August, American grain shipments are more along normal levels.”

Wayne Smith, senior vice-president, commercial of Algoma Central Corporation, said shipping activity on the St. Lawrence Seaway remained steady. Algoma Central owns Canada’s largest domestic fleet of vessels operating on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway.

Smith said: “We have noticed that American grain cargoes have slowed, but other activity related to the steel and construction industries continue to meet our expectations and remain stable.”

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 positive economic benefits, safety, energy

efficiency, and sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes-Seaway System. 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 website at


About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national association that represents diverse marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as Canadian 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
(613) 447 5401