Seaway salt shipments up 20 percent

by Array

OTTAWA: Year-to-date cargo shipments through the St Lawrence Seaway remain steady, bolstered in November by strong gains in iron ore exports and salt shipments as Great Lakes cities prepare for winter, said the St Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. The Seaway’s year-to-date total cargo shipments from March 22 to November 30 were 33.4 million tonnes, up one percent from the same period last year. Total cargo shipments for November were down by two percent to 4.5 million tonnes, due to decreased US grain shipments.

However, November saw gains in iron ore shipments, which increased 55 percent to one million tonnes compared to the same month in 2010. As well, shipments of salt from regions like Goderich and Windsor were up by 20 percent to 310,000 tonnes. More than eight million tonnes of iron ore and 2.3 million tonnes of salt have been shipped through the Seaway since the beginning of the season.

“The increases in iron ore shipments in November are being fuelled by new exports from the Lake Superior region to the Port of Quebec, where it is then loaded on ocean freighters for global markets,” said Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. Hodgson added overall cargo shipments were expected to remain steady in December, accumulating for the year to 37 million tonnes—a two percent increase over 2010.

Canadian Great Lakes ports reported positive numbers in salt and grain for the year thus far. The Port of Windsor, where Canadian Salt is based, saw a 20-percent increase in salt shipments in November, with salt heading to Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Toronto and Parry Sound to build reserves for de-icing roads. Year-to-date salt shipments to November 30 through the port totalled 2.1 million tonnes.

The Port of Thunder Bay hit a milestone in November with more than one million tonnes of total cargo being shipped through the port during one month for the first time since May 2009. The 891,000-tonnes of grain shipped out of Thunder Bay’s grain elevators was the most in one month since May 2002.

The Port of Hamilton experienced growth in agriculture and international trade. Hamilton’s international traffic for all cargo types is up 27 percent over 2010 and overseas grain has increased 79 percent. The increase was due to the strength of the 2010 grain crop and expansions at terminals owned by agri-businesses Parrish & Heimbecker and Richardson International.