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Boreal Community Media

International cargoes up on Great Lakes

Dec 22, 2018 02:08PM ● By Editor

An international cargo vessel sails down the St. Lawrence Seaway near Tadoussac in Quebec. Photo:  Joseph S. Pete, The Times

By Joseph S. Pete of the

International shipments on the Great Lakes are up 5.3 percent so far this year as the 2018 shipping season winds down.

Cargos through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Great Lakes ports, including the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor and the Port of Chicago, topped 36 million tons between March 29 and Nov. 30, according to the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

“It’s been a really positive year for St. Lawrence Seaway shipping and for several Great Lakes ports, particularly considering the unpredictable trade environment of the past year,” said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “We expect the busy momentum from November to carry through to the end of December." 

Road salt shipments from abroad are already ahead of 2017, with 2.2 million tons through the end of November. And U.S. grain volumes on the Great Lakes exceeded 2.1 million tons so far this year, a 33 percent increase as compared to the same period in 2017.

Despite fears of a trade war, tariffs haven't taken much of a toll on international commerce on the Great Lakes thus far, according to the chamber.

"All indications are that overall cargo volumes through the St. Lawrence Seaway will meet forecasts to top 40 million tons in 2018," Burrows said. "When you consider seaway shipping was up 9 percent in 2017, this year’s continued growth underlines the importance of this trade corridor to the success of the many industries we serve in the region.”

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here