As the 2019 shipping season headed into its final weeks, U.S. Great Lakes ports reported increases in road salt shipments, petroleum products and general cargo in November.

Despite these areas of strength, overall 2019 St. Lawrence Seaway cargo volumes are down 6.6 per cent (for the period of March 22 to January 9) compared to 2018. Weaker overall U.S. grain exports, declines in steel imports due to U.S. tariffs and difficult navigational conditions due to very high water flows within the St. Lawrence River have restrained cargo volumes.

Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said: “Despite the overall Seaway decrease, it’s great to see so many U.S. ports reaching their yearly goals, and exceeding their 2018 cargo totals. Cities and manufacturing companies rely on this important Great Lakes-Seaway trade corridor to stockpile road salt for deicing roads, deliver crucial raw materials for plant production, and export grain and other products right up to the end of December.”

Overall Seaway volumes declined to 38.3 million tonnes for the year ended January 9, 2020, down 6.6 per cent compared to the previous year. Dry bulk and liquid bulk were up by 8.5 and 2.4 per cent respectively. However, grain was down by 15.4 per cent, and general cargo was down by 33.2 per cent. Iron ore and coal were down by 8.0 and 6.3 per cent respectively. The most important cargo categories were dry bulk (30.4 per cent) and grains (27.2 per cent).