WASHINGTON — The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments of more than 24 million metric tons moved through the system for the period March 28 to Sept. 30 — an increase of nearly 5 percent over September 2013. U.S. grain continued its upward trend posting a 14.6 percent increase over the same time last year.
“Cargo tonnage moved through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System during the month of September continues to be robust and reflects positively on the economy and the shipping industry,” says administrator Betty Sutton of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. “Great Lakes stevedores handled large quantities of steel, grain, sugar, salt, and oversized project cargo carried on more than 200 ships in September. As we head into the busiest time of the shipping season, we anticipate this upward trend in cargo tonnage to continue.”
Sutton says at the Port of Toledo, the 2014 shipping season has been about building upon its capabilities and preparing the port to take on new opportunities. At the general cargo dock operated by Midwest Terminals, steel coils and aluminum have been the leading break bulk commodities while new bulk products like iron nuggets and salt from overseas are rounding out the cargo mix. “The terminal has been extremely busy this year and the upgraded material handling equipment has played a key role in improving terminal efficiencies and throughput so the dock can continue to accept additional cargo,” Sutton says.
“This month’s cargo shipments represent a roughly 30 percent increase over what we handled last September and is a strong indicator of the improving economy in Southeast Michigan,” says John Loftus, executive director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. “The Port Authority takes very seriously its role as a facilitator to industry in the Detroit/Wayne County area, and we’re proud of the growth our constituent businesses are enjoying.” Stevedores at the Nicholson Terminal and Dock Co. handled 30,000 net tons of steel coils and steel products imported from the U.K., Canada, Germany, and Turkey to be used by the automotive and construction sectors.