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Year-to-date total cargo shipments through Seaway up 3 percent

Washington, D.C. –  Continued demand for iron ore, coal, and general cargo for the industrial and manufacturing sectors lifted the tonnage numbers along the Great Lakes-Seaway System to the positive column.

For the period March 22 to November 30, year-to-date total cargo shipments were 34.6 million metric tons, a rise of 2.67 percent over the same period in 2011. The St. Lawrence Seaway reported an 11 percent increase for total cargo shipments during the month of November – 5.1 million metric tons – compared to November 2011.

“The nearly 3 percent rise in overall tonnage handled through the Seaway in 2012 is due in part to the proven formula of ‘steel in, grain out’ as steel imports rose 12 percent in November as compared to the same month last year, and combined Canadian-U.S. grain export figure totals continue to improve, though still behind (-4%) last year’s pace,” said Rebecca Spruill, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Director of Trade Development. “Shippers and port-terminal personnel are working hard to move wheat, soybeans and corn exports to lower Laurentian ports or foreign destinations before the Seaway locks close out the waterway’s final days.”

Jonathan Daniels, executive director of the Port of Oswego said, “The first seven months of the fiscal year surpassed the highest revenues in the port authority’s history. We are continuing to push hard to the end of the shipping season, with aluminum as our leading cargo shipment.”

Daniels also noted, “Even with the drought in northern Pennsylvania, harvest yields per acre of soy beans and corn were higher than anticipated. This forced the port authority to take on an additional 179,000 square foot storage space outside the port complex to accommodate the overflow of agricultural shipments.”

At the other end of the Great Lakes-Seaway System, the Port of Duluth-Superior has handled nearly 33 million tons of cargo to date, with iron ore the strongest payload throughout this shipping season. “In addition to U.S.-flag vessels serving domestic markets, the Canadian lakers have played an important role in moving commodities like iron ore and low-sulphur coal to Canadian ports for transshipment to global markets,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority.