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Record Canadian crops boost St. Lawrence shipping

Ottawa, Ontario  — Record Canadian and American grain crops boosted St.Lawrence Seaway shipping in October as vessels carried wheat, corn and other agricultural products through the waterway for export to Europe and North Africa.
According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, total cargo shipments on the waterway were just over 27.8 million tonnes from March 22 until October 31, down 6.7 per cent compared to the same period last year. Year-to-date total grain shipments are 5.5 million tonnes, down 8 per cent over the same period in 2012. However, these numbers were a significant improvement over the previous month and officials say they mark the start of a strong autumn
Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: “The Canadian and U.S. grain harvests are now moving through the system — with record crops in both countries. We’re seeing more ocean-going ships coming into the waterway to pick up grain for export. We’re optimistic we’ll end the season close to last year’s cargo volumes.”
Tim Heney, CEO of the Port of Thunder Bay, which acts as the gateway for Prairie grain entering the Great Lakes-Seaway system, said: “While we still haven’t caught up to where we were last year, October was the strongest month we have had this season for grain shipments. The first week of November was even busier. Richardson International opened its second grain elevator in October — which doubles its capacity in Thunder Bay — and it was receiving two ships at a time last week.”
Richardson International bought the previously mothballed elevator from Viterra Inc. last spring.“Richardson has operated in the Port of Thunder Bay since the early 1900’s and we have always viewed it as a strategic port,” said Darwin Sobkow, Executive Vice-President, Agribusiness. “This additional terminal capacity will complement our current operations and enhance our position to meet current and future demands.”
The harvest season in southern Ontario also kept the Port of Hamilton busy with 83 vessels and 1.58 million tonnes of cargo transiting the port in October alone. Grain tonnages are up 16 per cent year over year and fertilizer tonnages are up 18 per cent year over year, to October 31.
Separately, coal shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway reached 3.8 million tonnes for the year to October 31, up 3 per cent over 2012, due to strong export demand for energy production in Europe.
The Seaway’s Hodgson added that other growth areas included aggregates and salt being carried into the Port of Toronto, following the reopening of the Ship Channel Bridge after months of repairs.
Angus Armstrong, Harbour Master for the Toronto Port Authority, said: “With the reopening of the bridge, October was a busy month with ships coming through to the Port of Toronto carrying aggregates for construction projects and salt that will be used for de-icing roads in the city in the winter months. These are important cargoes that contribute to the smooth operation of Canada’s largest city.”
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and annually generates $14 billion in salary and wages, $34.6 billion in business revenue, and $4.6 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes. North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers, and power generators depend on the 164 million metric tons of essential raw materials and finished products that are moved annually on the system.
For more information: Andrew Bogora, Communications and Public Relations Officer, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation on or (613) 932-5170 x 3285.
Follow Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping news on http://www.localhost:10089 and on Twitter @MarineDelivers.
Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the positive economic and environmental
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.

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