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Iron ore trade remains strong in July

The American Integrity docks at the CN ore docks in West Duluth to take on a load of taconite pellets in 2014. (News Tribune file photo)

The Twin Ports continued a hot streak in the iron ore trade in July, with shipments 25 percent above the five-year average for the month, according to the Lake Carriers' Association.

The Port of Duluth-Superior saw 2.4 million tons of taconite leave the harbor last month, double the amount that went out in July 2016. That speaks to the revitalization of the Iron Range in the face of a recovering domestic steel industry.

All told, U.S. ports moved just over 6 million tons of iron ore in July, 200,000 tons above the five-year average and 1.1 million tons ahead of July 2016.

Canadian ports contributed just 390,000 tons last month — Canadian port, rather, as Port Cartier, Quebec, was the only one of three tracked loading ore in July. That, and the end of shipments from Escanaba, Mich., has dragged down overall iron ore numbers despite the boost from northern Minnesota's output.

Two Harbors shipped close to 1.7 million tons of ore in July, while Silver Bay hit a five-year high of 905,000 tons.

For 2017, U.S. ports are 2 million tons above average iron ore shipments, and the Twin Ports are about 1.2 million tons above average.

Brooks Johnson

Brooks is an investigative/enterprise reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.

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