The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) reported disappointing results for the first half of the season, although results were bolstered by shipments of construction materials and heavy lift cargo for the renewable energy sector. With Canada being in recession, and with weak global demand for Canadian commodities, the disappointing results should come as no surprise.

Terence Bowles, SLSMC President and CEO, tempered expectations of improvements during the remainder of the season by noting that “the outlook for the fall is tempered by the drought in the western provinces, which is lowering expectations for the harvest.”

In percentage terms, the month of August caused year-to-date results for all categories except one to fall further beyond the year-to-date shortfalls registered during the month of July. On a year-to-date basis, the Seaway handled 18.3 million tonnes, compared with 20.5 million tonnes during the same period of 2014, down by 10.6 per cent.

The bright spot continued to be dry bulk tonnage which at 5.4 million tonnes on a year-to-date basis exceeded 2014 volumes by 461 tonnes, or 9.3 per cent.

In August, the Canada Steamship Lines vessel Baie St. Paul carried ten loads of stone to the construction site of the new Champlain Bridge in Montreal. Canada Steamship Lines President Allister Paterson commented: “This operation is a great example of how short-sea shipping contributes to economic development to the benefit of our communities and the environment. One ship can carry the cargo of more than 900 trucks at a fuel consumption rate that’s over 500 per cent more efficient, which means safer and healthier communities and lower infrastructure costs for taxpayers.”

Dry bulk strength, however, was offset by a 16 per cent decline in shipments of iron ore via the St. Lawrence Seaway, a 38 per cent decrease in coal shipments, and a 15.2 per cent decline in Canadian grain cargoes compared to a blockbuster 2014.