Cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes have risen 4 percent year-over-year to 30.5 million tons through Oct. 31, according to the Chamber of Marine Commerce.
U.S. ports on the Great Lakes like the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor posted one of the busiest months of the year in October, largely because of increased cargoes of grain, construction materials and salt. Ocean-going vessels have hauled in more salt from Egypt and Morocco to compensate for a shortage caused by 12-week strike at the Goderich Mine in Canada this summer, according to the marine chamber.
“This is a good example of how the navigation system can quickly provide a reliable, competitive supply chain even when unforeseen circumstances arise,” said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “While salt is not back to where it was at this time last year, there have been significant increases since the summer months to prepare ports and local terminals for the winter.”
So far this year, international cement and clinker shipments on the Great Lakes have risen 20 percent for the season. Grain shipments have skyrocketed by 44 percent to 1.9 million metric tons.
Domestic shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes dropped 7.5 percent to 3.4 million tons in October, according to the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers Association. So far this year, limestone trade has risen 1.9 percent to 24.2 million tons.
Shipments of iron ore, a key input to the steelmaking operations along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Northwest Indiana, rose 5.7 percent to 5.8 million tons in October, according to the Lake Carriers Association.
So far this year, iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes have fallen 1.8 percent to 44.7 million tons.