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St. Lawrence Seaway shipping picks up as grain starts flowing

Ottawa, Ontario (September 16, 2013)St. Lawrence Seaway shipping started to rebound as new Canadian prairie and American grain began flowing through the navigation channel in August for export overseas.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, total cargo shipments on the waterway were just over 19.3 million tonnes from March 22 until August 31, down 9 per cent compared to the same period last year. Year-to-date total grain shipments are 3.3 million tonnes, down 6% over the same period in 2012.  However, this was an improvement over the previous month and reflects an uptick of grain activity in August.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said:  “The new grain crops from the Canadian prairies and the U.S. are starting to come through. Our expectation is that we will have a strong finish in terms of grain over the autumn months. That’s what we’re being told by the market.  We remain optimistic that we’ll end the season close to last year’s cargo volumes.”

Liquid bulk shipments through the Seaway also had a strong showing in August, due to an increase in demand for liquid asphalt.

Liquid asphalt shipments to the Port of Windsor are up 52 per cent this season, along with a 38 per cent increase in construction aggregates and a 45 per cent rise in grain traffic.  Year-to-date total cargo shipments have increased by 9 per cent to 3.3 million tonnes.

David Cree, CEO of the Windsor Port Authority, said:  “We are on track for an excellent year in 2013, and may surpass the previous record of 5.778 million tonnes established in 2006.  Numerous new road construction projects in the area have resulted in a surge in liquid asphalt shipped through the recently enlarged Sterling Fuels Marine Terminal.  In addition, ongoing construction of the new Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway has generated record volumes of construction aggregates through the Lafarge Canada Terminal.

Separately, the Port of Hamilton is also seeing areas of growth with efforts to diversify cargo, bearing fruit.  Year-to-date fertilizer tonnages, for example, are up substantially over 2012, with more than 189,000 tonnes transiting the port so far this year.  Growing fertilizer volumes are the result of increases in tank storage and handling capacity at port facilities operated by Agrico Canada Ltd. and Sylvite Agri-Services Ltd. 

Sand and stone tonnages are another area of strength, with more than 459,000 tonnes handled so far this year.  The Port of Hamilton offers ample storage space for bulk commodities in the construction materials sector, as well as a strategic location close to the dynamic Greater Toronto/Hamilton construction market.

Heading into the fall season, the port is also beginning to see a seasonal escalation in activity around the grain terminals, which are a major export hub for Ontario grains and oilseeds, including soybeans, wheat and corn.   Total year-to-date cargo shipments have surpassed 5 million tonnes.

“The Port of Hamilton handles the most volume of any Canadian port on the Great Lakes. We are working hard to continue to grow our diverse cargo base, with strategic investments in facilities and infrastructure, in partnership with our tenants,” said Bruce Wood, President & CEO, Hamilton Port Authority.


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 abogora@seaway.caor (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