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Seaway reports total cargo down

More than 15 million metric tons of cargo moved through the St. Lawrence Seaway in July, down just 4 percent over last year, marking a sustained comeback after the slow start to the shipping season.

“The month of July was extremely busy for our ports on the Great Lakes-Seaway System as they handled high-value cargoes like steel, wind components and machinery that arrived from 13 different countries,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. “When compared to July of last year, double the number of foreign flagged ships from as far away as Korea and Taiwan transited through the U.S. locks.”

Project cargoes were the story at U.S. ports last month.

On July 17, the BBC cargo ship Peter Roenna arrived in Duluth carrying more than two dozen renewable wind energy components after a voyage from Brande, Denmark, where the equipment is manufactured by Siemens A.G. Since the port first started handling these project cargoes for Minnesota Power, 15 shiploads of wind energy equipment have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailed through the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the Great Lakes into Duluth. The first shipments arrived in 2006 for the Bison Wind Energy Center in North Dakota. The fourth phase of that project is underway.

“This latest shipment turns a spotlight on the global nature of sustainable energy and the importance of efficiently transporting goods and services,” said Dave McMillan, senior vice president of external affairs at Allete and executive vice president of Minnesota Power.

Port Authority Executive Director Vanta Coda concurred.

“The strategic location of this port, the capacity of this facility and the quality of Lake Superior Warehousing’s workforce has earned Duluth a world-class reputation for efficient cargo handling, secure storage and delivery, particularly for shippers of dimensional cargo,” Coda said.  

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that total cargo shipments from March 28 to July 31 were 15 million metric tons, down 4 percent over the same period in 2013. Iron ore and coal were both down by 37 percent and 16 percent, respectively. General cargo was up

61 percent overall with iron and steel, and steel slabs posting increases of 78 percent and 111 percent over 2013. U.S. grain shipments were down by 9 percent in July over last year. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 24 percent to 1.3 million metric tons. The dry bulk category was down 1 percent over 2013. However, within that category, salt, cement, ores and fertilizers were all in the positive column, with fertilizers at a 118 percent hike.