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Seaway Cargo Shipments Up 17.5%


Contact: Julia Fields (613) 294-8515

October surge in soybean and corn exports

Ottawa, Ontario (November 11, 2010) — Cargo shipments through the St Lawrence Seaway were boosted in October by an increase in Canadian exports of corn, soybean and wheat out of Ontario and Quebec, along with demand for construction materials and general cargo shipments.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that total year-to-date shipments reached 27.1 million tonnes from March 25 to October 31, an increase of 17.5 per cent over the same period in 2009.

Year-to-date shipments of iron ore for 2010 were up 52 per cent to 7.9 million tonnes compared to last year, while total grain shipments have increased by 4 per cent to 5.9 million tonnes.

In October, these numbers were boosted by a 67 per cent surge in Canadian grain shipments to 780,000 tonnes compared to the same month in 2009. Bumper soybean and corn crops in Ontario and Quebec are helping to improve overall Canadian grain shipments through the Seaway, which have fallen behind 2009 figures this season.

Bulk materials, which include among other items construction materials such as stone, cement and gypsum, increased by 11 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes in October compared to the same month in 2009. General cargo (which is comprised of steel slabs, coils and project cargo like wind power components) rose by 27 per cent compared to the same month in 2009.

Bruce Hodgson, director of marketing for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: “Shipment numbers are continuing to remain strong month-to-month, indicating that the season will finish well ahead of 2009. The world demand for grains out of the U.S. and now more recently from Ontario and Quebec has been a great boost for Seaway traffic and really shows how vital this transportation corridor is to respond to sudden changes in global markets.”

Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd., which owns a network of terminals, marine shipping services and rail terminals that move grain from Western and Eastern Canada to export markets around the world, has seen a frenzy of activity out of their grain elevator in Owen Sound and operations at the Port of Hamilton.

Rob Bryson, vice president of Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd.’s Grain Group, said: “Despite the strong Canadian dollar and higher grain prices, there is really strong international demand for soybeans, corn and soft wheat out of Eastern Canada and we anticipate that this is going to continue in November and December.

“Droughts in Eastern Europe earlier this year and demand in Asia are affecting grain markets around the world. Normally we export soybeans from Eastern Canada, but this year corn exports are also particularly strong. We had the perfect weather and season for corn. The quality and yields are tremendous. The terminals along the St. Lawrence are jammed full of corn, soybeans and wheat. The terminals are waiting to load vessels and grain companies and farmers are waiting to deliver more. We can’t move it fast enough.”

P&H Grain Group recently announced that it was investing in a new grain terminal at the Port of Hamilton, and the frenzied pace of this year’s grain activity saw them loading vessels there for the first time this autumn.

Ian Hamilton, vice-president of the Hamilton Port Authority, commented: “Grain and agri-product has become a particular strategic growth area for the port. In view of significant infrastructure investments being made in Hamilton terminals by Parrish & Heimbecker and Richardsons, we are well-positioned to handle increased throughput via our established marine, rail and truck links and services.”

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway waterway is responsible for approximately 75,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. and annually generates more than $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue, and $1.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes. This vital trade corridor delivers approximately $3.6 billion in annual cost savings compared to the next least expensive mode of commercial transportation. This provides a competitive advantage for the North American manufacturing, construction, energy and agri-food sectors.

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