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Seaway Salt Shipments Up 20% in November as Cities prepare for Icy Winter


Ottawa, Ontario   – Year-to-date cargo shipments through theSt. Lawrence Seaway remain steady, bolstered in November by strong gains in iron ore exports and salt shipments as Great Lakes cities prepare for the winter onslaught.

The Seaway’s year-to-date total cargo shipments from March 22 to November 30 were 33.4 million tonnes, up one per cent from the same period last year.  Total cargo shipments for the month of November were down slightly by two per cent to 4.5 million tonnes, pulled down by decreased U.S. grain shipments.

However, strong gains were seen in November in shipments of iron ore, which increased by 55 per cent to one million tonnes compared to the same month in 2010; and in shipments of salt from regions like Goderich and Windsor, which were up by 20 per cent to 310,000 tonnes. More than eight million tonnes of iron ore and 2.3 million tonnes of salt have been shipped through the Seaway since the beginning of the season.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: “The increases in iron ore shipments in November are being fuelled by new exports from the Lake Superior region to the Port of Quebec, where it is then loaded on ocean freighters for global markets.  What we’re seeing is companies increasingly seeing the St. Lawrence Seaway as a cost-effective alternative to the Gulf of Mexico and coastal ports that are becoming more congested.  If the price of iron ore remains at current levels, we believe these exports will continue in 2012.”

Hodgson added that overall cargo shipments were expected to remain steady in December, accumulating for the year to 37 million tonnes, a two per cent increase over 2010.  “Ships that travel through the St. Lawrence Seaway carry essential raw materials for North American farmers and manufacturers and therefore it is a good barometer of the overall economy.”

Canadian Great Lakes ports reported positive numbers in salt and grain for the year thus far.

The Port of Windsor, where Canadian Salt is based, experienced a 20 per cent increase in salt shipments in November, with salt heading to Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Toronto and Parry Sound to build reserves for de-icing roads this winter. Year-to-date salt shipments to November 30 through the port totalled 2.1 million tonnes.  David Cree, President & CEO of the Windsor Port Authority stated: “After a tough winter last year, U.S. cities in particular are shoring up their reserves of salt in preparation for the upcoming winter.  In addition, grain shipments through the Windsor Grain Terminal have shown a healthy increase of just over 20%, due in large part to increased exports to Europe”.

The Port of Thunder Bay hit a milestone in November with more than one million tonnes of total cargo being shipped through the port during one month for the first time since May 2009. The 891,000 tonnes of grain shipped out of Thunder Bay’s grain elevators was the most in one month since May 2002.

Year-to-date grain tonnage this year has already surpassed the total grain tonnage for the entire year of 2010. There has been a 15 per cent increase in wheat shipments and a 125 per cent increase in canola shipments in 2011. Canola shipments are expected to exceed 1.2 million tonnes during the 2011 season — a record for canola shipments in the Port of Thunder Bay.

The Port of Hamilton also experienced growth in agriculture and international trade.  Hamilton’s international traffic for all types of cargo is up 27 per cent over 2010 and overseas grain has increased 79 per cent.  The increase was due to the strength of the 2010 grain crop, which shipped out in early 2011, as well as expansions at terminals owned by agri-businesses Parrish & Heimbecker and Richardson International.

Bruce Wood, president and CEO of the Hamilton Port Authority, said: “With the attraction of new strategic terminals to Hamilton, we anticipate continued traction from our cargo diversification strategy.”

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs in Canada and the U.S., and annually generates $14.5 billion in salary and wages, $34.6 billion in business revenue and $4.7 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 tonnes of essential raw materials and finished products that are moved annually on the system. This vital trade corridor saves companies $3.6 billion per year in transportation costs compared to the next least-costly land-based alternative.


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For interviews, please contact: Andrew Bogora, Communications Officer, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation on (613) 932-5170 x 3285.

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