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Twin Ports' cargo numbers up slightly in 2007-08 season

The Twin Ports saw an uptick in maritime activity during the 2007-08 season. The docks handled 47.9 million tons of cargo -- 1.7 percent more than they did last year.

The Twin Ports saw an uptick in maritime activity during the 2007-08 season. The docks handled 47.9 million tons of cargo -- 1.7 percent more than they did last year.

That may sound like modest growth, but U.S.-flagged freighters reported moving 5.1 percent less cargo through the Great Lakes during the latest season than they did the prior year. Low water levels, which cut maximum loading capacities for many vessels, were to blame for much of the decrease.

On average, a laker moved about 300 fewer tons per voyage this season than it would have previously.

During the season, 1,231 vessels called on the Twin Ports -- 3.6 percent more than last year.

Ocean-going traffic posted the most dramatic growth, as a weak dollar, a strong domestic harvest and crop failures abroad created new markets for grain exports. Saltie traffic grew 13.9 percent, with 158 vessels calling on the port -- 22 more than the previous season.

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The season marks the fourth year in a row of tonnage growth for the Twin Ports. During that period, Duluth and Superior docks have seen their overall cargo loads increase by 24 percent or 9.4 million tons.

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