According to the St. Lawrence Seaway, shipments of steel, aluminum, wind turbines and other heavy machinery were up by 5 percent to 629,000 metric tons from April 2 to May 31. Steel and Canadian aluminum headed to U.S. Great Lakes ports such as Oswego, Detroit and Toledo to be used in the thriving automotive industry. Local manufacturers also exported mining equipment via the Port of Milwaukee to Europe.
Looking ahead, U.S. energy projects are expected to boost wind turbine shipments in the Great Lakes this season. The Port of Duluth-Superior has already booked 20 ships for its general cargo dock this year, including multiple loads of wind turbine components. The Port Authority recently broke ground on its $17.7m Port of Duluth Intermodal Project to enhance its heavy-lift and project cargo capacity.
While it was another late start to the season due to icebreaking constraints, grain from Canada and the U.S. continued to flow out of the St. Lawrence Seaway to export markets, totaling 1.9 million metric tons so far this season, up 7 percent over 2014. And dry bulk shipments, including road salt, coke for steel production, and construction materials totaled 1.7 million metric tons, up four percent.
Despite these star performers, year-to-date total cargo shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway were 6.4 million metric tons, down by 7 percent compared to 2014 due to low global prices for North American iron ore and coal exports. Iron ore shipments via the Seaway were down 30 percent, while coal shipments dipped 27.5 percent compared to the same period the year before.
Source: Chamber of Marine Commerce
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