Activity Increasing Along Seaway, At Port

By Joleene DesRosiers Moody, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – If you’ve noticed a bit more activity within the Port of Oswego this spring, it’s because cargo shipments are up, thanks to international demand for North American commodities used in the steel and construction industries.

Last month, the Port of Oswego received its largest single shipment of aluminum.  Because it is a multi-modal connectivity harbor, the Port is able to facilitate cargoes of great bulk.

“Aluminum shipments sustained a record pace, with inbound amounts in excess of 7,000 metric tons per vessel call,” said port director Jonathan Daniels.

Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, said, “Seaway tonnage increases continue to nudge upward to 5 percent overall, when compared to the same time frame last year. Double digit figures were noted in coal and iron ore, and general cargo is up almost 7 percent.”

This is evident along the Saint Lawrence Seaway as well, which reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period between March 22 and May 31 were 8.9 million metric tons, up 3.7 percent over the same period in 2011.

The month of May also saw a rise in international vessels delivering wind turbine components for wind farm projects in the American mid-west and western Canada.

“The port of Ogdensburg welcomed three ships carrying wind components and expect four more vessels this month,” Spruill added. “Shippers are pushing to transport turbines to wind farms before year’s end in order to take advantage of the expiring tax credit deadline.”

Coal shipments for power generation and steel production rose 41 percent to 1.3 million metric tons in May. Year-to-date figures for iron ore were up 24 percent to 2.5 million metric tons. Bulk materials, which include pig iron, stone and cement, saw a year-to-date increase of 8 percent to 2.3 million metric tons.

“The port opened the West Terminal to general cargo shipments for the fist time in the Port’s history,” Daniels said. “We look forward to this trend continuing though the shipping season.”