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November Seaway Cargo Shipments Up 28%


Julia Fields (613) 294-8515

Ocean Freighters Rush In Before End of Season

Ottawa, Ontario (December 9, 2010) — The St. Lawrence Seaway has reported a significant increase of iron ore, coal and grain shipments as it enters the final stretch of the shipping season due to finish at the end of December.

Total cargo shipments in November jumped by 28 per cent to 4.8 million tonnes compared to the same period last year, with one section of the Seaway seeing the highest number of ship transits for this time of the year in more than a decade.

Year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period between March 31 and November 30 were 31.9 million tonnes, up 19 per cent compared to 2009. The Seaway expects that figure will hit 35 million tonnes before the end of the year.

The Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway saw more than 400 ship transits in November — the highest number for that month in 12 years — as ships brought iron ore and other cargo into the Toronto/Hamilton area and vessels transited through the system with Canadian and U.S. grain exports.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: “November has been incredibly busy for the Seaway as steel manufacturers have been stockpiling coal and coke for use over the winter months and vessels have continued to load North American grain destined for overseas markets.”

“We are now experiencing the final surge of vessels transiting through the Seaway before the end of December. Last week, we had more than 40 ocean vessels travelling into the system. At the same time last year, we had less than half that amount of ships going through.”

In November, coal shipments were up 92 per cent to 481,000 tonnes compared to the same month in 2009. Coking coal, which is used to blast furnaces in steel manufacturing, was up 28 per cent to 130,000 tonnes. Iron ore shipments remained strong during the month, up 25 per cent at 981,000 tonnes. Total grain shipments increased by 29 per cent in November to 1.8 million tonnes compared to 2009.

Year-to-date figures showed iron ore shipments up 49 per cent to 8.9 million, while grain had increased by 9 per cent to 7.8 million tonnes compared to 2009. Hodgson commented: “Undoubtedly, grain has been one of the Seaway’s big trade success stories of 2010. We are experiencing increasing demand in Europe caused by the grain export ban in Russia, which is positively impacting our traffic levels.”

Hodgson added that the stockpiling of coal and coking coal is another good sign that manufacturing has continued to improve from the recession of last year.

“Last year, the steel industry didn’t stockpile coal and coke but instead was running off built up inventories. Despite the fact that iron ore shipments into Lake Ontario have declined in November compared to previous months this season, it has still been a much stronger year for iron ore. Last year, we shipped only 7 million tonnes of iron ore for the entire season.”

“Major bulk cargoes have seen a significant resurgence in 2010, notably iron ore shipments in Hamilton, which are pointing to renewed activity in the steel sector,” agreed Hamilton Port Authority vice-president Ian Hamilton.

Year-to-date iron ore shipments at the Port of Hamilton from March 31 until November 30 remain ahead 45 per cent to 4.7 million tonnes compared to 2009.

However, Hamilton added: “As market forces continue to sort themselves we expect these commodities to remain somewhat volatile.”

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 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