The number of vessels in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system exceeded the five-year average as ships make a final push to export grain and other supplies before the seaway closes Dec. 30.
“Ships are delivering cement, stone, gypsum, aluminum, and machinery to support an eight-year high in U.S. construction spending, along with growth in the automotive sector in Great Lakes states,” says Stephen Brooks, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, an association that represents marine industry stakeholders. “But steep declines in global consumption and pricing have largely halted coal and iron ore exports via the waterway this season and that continues.”
Brooks says the St. Lawrence Seaway, a 2,340-mile waterway extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, attracted 1.7 million metric tons of cargo from either new origins or heading to new destinations from April to November. Total cargo on the seaway from April to November was nearly 32 million metric tons, down more than 10 percent when compared year over year.
Brooks says domestic general cargo via the seaway saw an increase of nearly 28 percent for the 2015 season, due mainly to increased shipments of aluminum ingots traveling from Quebec to ports in New York and Toledo, Ohio for the automotive industry.
St. Lawrence Seaway shipments of construction materials such as cement and stone were up 15 percent and 20 percent respectively.