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St. Lawrence Seaway Shipping Season on Course for Strong Finish



Ottawa, Ontario (December 19, 2012)The St. Lawrence Seaway shipping season is on course for a strong finish following brisk trade in grain, coal, salt and general cargo during the month of November. 

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation said it was on track to increase tonnage for the 2012 season by 2 per cent. 

Total shipments in November reached 5.1 million tonnes, up 10.7 per cent from the same month last year.  Year-to-date total shipments from March 22 to November 30 rose to 34.6 million, up 2.7 per cent over the same period in 2011.

Bruce Hodgson, market development director, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation said:  “Seaway traffic was brisk in November with vessels carrying salt to cities to prepare for winter, coal for export for power generation in Europe; and steel, machinery and equipment for construction and manufacturing projects. Canadian grain exports have remained steady and American grain shipments picked up as low water levels on the Mississippi River diverted some shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway.”

He added: “We are on track to meet 2 per cent growth in shipments for the 2012 season.  In spite of a weak global economy, the Seaway has seen growth in a number of areas this year, most notably iron ore and coal exports and oversized cargo like wind turbines and manufacturing equipment. Marketing efforts and toll incentives have also so far attracted 2.7 million tonnes of new business this year from the establishment of new trade routes or customers.”

Salt shipments through the Seaway for the month of November rose to 595,000 tonnes, up 98 per cent over the same month last year.  Year-to-date salt shipments were 2.3 million tonnes, up 1.2 per cent over the same period in 2011.  Coal shipments were 529,000 tonnes in November, up 24 per cent over the same month last year.  Year-to-date coal shipments were 4.2 million tonnes, up 24 per cent over the same period last year. General cargo, which includes steel imports, aluminum ingots and project cargo like heavy machinery, rose by 28 per cent in November to 334,000 tonnes.  Year-to-date general cargo shipments reached 1.9 million tonnes, up 12 per cent over the same period in 2011.

The Port of Oshawa has been one of the major beneficiaries of the rise in general cargo shipments, such as steel imports. Year-to-November 30 total shipments through the port reached 395,000 tonnes, up 53 per cent over the same period in 2011. “The Port of Oshawa has seen a remarkable increase in imports of steel reinforcing bar this fall from countries like Turkey and Portugal.  This steel is being used to build condos in the Greater Toronto Area,” said Donna Taylor, president and CEO of the Oshawa Port Authority.

Hamilton-based barge and tug operator McKeil Marine has also gained business from the rise in general cargo shipments on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system. The company has hauled aluminum ingots from Quebec to ports in Ontario and the U.S.; massive plant components and equipment from Great Lakes communities to the Vale nickel plant being built in Newfoundland; and even helped to transport a decommissioned submarine from Nova Scotia to its final resting place at a museum in Port Burwell.

“2012 has been a very strong year for McKeil Marine. We have had the opportunity to work on many heavy-lift projects including: the Vale Long Harbour Project in Newfoundland and Labrador; and, the submarine tow from Halifax to Port Burwell.  In addition, we have enjoyed a steady flow of bulk and break-bulk cargo movements including a number of exciting firsts for McKeil, including transporting food products such as soy beans on our barges,” says Steve Fletcher, President of McKeil Marine Limited. “To better serve our customers in the East Coast of Canada, we opened an office in St. John’s and have expanded our fleet with the addition of a new vessel.  We are also working with Mammoet Canada Eastern Ltd. and the Glovertown Shipyard to build two new deck barges, which will be contracted to work on the Hebron oil project in Newfoundland.  As we prepare for the 2013 sailing season and beyond we are actively pursuing a number of opportunities spread throughout our markets of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, East Coast and Arctic.  We are certainly optimistic about all future prospects.”


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.

Follow Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping news on http://www.localhost:10089 and on Twitter @MarineDelivers.

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


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