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St. Lawrence Seaway reports strong shipping gains

The St. Lawrence Seaway System, North America’s binational marine highway stretching 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, reported strong gains during the 2017 navigation season, including a standout year in iron ore, dry bulk and general cargo shipments.

The final tally recorded 38.1 million tons of goods moved through the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2017. The tonnage reflected solid increases over the previous year, including a 9 percent overall jump in total cargo traffic.

“We are pleased to see the strong finish for the year, particularly with respect to iron ore shipments,” Craig H. Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, said in a news release this week. “The demand for both traditional and new Seaway cargoes is having positive implications for Great Lakes shipping and maritime-related employment. These numbers validate the importance of the system as an essential trade artery and reflect the continued growth in manufacturing, construction and other industries throughout the region.”

Great Lakes shipping enjoyed a strong year, too, with iron ore shipments surpassing 60 millions tons — a 5 percent increase over the five-year average.