September tonnage sets up Seaway for strong finish

(OTTAWA, Ontario) — Increased shipments through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System in September have Seaway officials optimistic for the remainder of the shipping season. September cargo reached nearly 4.2 million tons to bring the year-to-date total to 23.4 million tons. Last month’s tonnage helped to narrow the year-to-date gap from 8.9 percent through August to 5.6 percent through September.

“It was good to see a nice jump in grain shipments last month,” said Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “We are optimistic that the positive numbers for September are an indication that it will be a strong fourth quarter and robust finish to the 2022 shipping season.”

All grain shipments reached nearly 1 million tons in September, with the year-to-date total of 4.9 million tons. That’s still about 15 percent below the year-to-date totals from a year ago. While Canadian grain remains down, potash (plus 262 percent), other general cargo (plus 181 percent), petroleum products (plus 43 percent) and U.S. grain (plus 41 percent) have shown increases over 2021.

Windmill tower sections are discharged from M/V Floretgracht at the Port of Thunder Bay on Aug. 17. Chamber of Marine Commerce photo

Port Milwaukee is experiencing new maritime commerce opportunities with an increase of high-value break-bulk and project cargo moving through the port. “From The Delong Co. assembly of a new ship loader for agricultural exports to the delivery of curved steel plates, brewery tanks and superyacht pieces, Port Milwaukee stands ready to welcome and transport cargo of all kinds,” said Port Milwaukee Director Adam Tindall-Schlicht. “This represents important support for the regional economy and moved the Great Lakes supply chain forward.”

The Port of Toledo surpassed 8 million tons for the season in September. “We believe the positive momentum of the 2022 shipping season will continue into the fourth quarter,” said Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “We are looking forward to the fall harvest when grain products from the Toledo region will be exported throughout the world. Watching farmers line up their trucks to deliver their products at the terminals and then to see that product immediately loaded onto an ocean vessel for export demonstrates the reliability and capabilities of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System as a critical link to the global marketplace. It’s a true demonstration of the supply chain in action.”

M/V Mark W. Barker, the newest ship on the Great Lakes, visited the Port of Monroe in Michigan for the first time in September. The ship loaded a cargo of synthetic gypsum at the turning basin dock for delivery to Port Colborne, Ontario. Mark W. Barker was built at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., the first bulk carrier to be built on the Great Lakes in more than 35 years.

“Anytime a vessel of the Interlake Steamship Co. calls upon the port, it is special,” said Capt. Paul C. LaMarre III, Port of Monroe director. “In this case, it is historic. Interlake’s continued support of our growth and cargo diversification has made them a major piece of the port’s living Great Lakes legacy.”

The Seaway system has also seen shipments of several wind projects, with turbines from Germany, Spain, Vietnam and China.

– Chamber of Marine Commerce

By Rich Miller