By Theo van de Kletersteeg

During the month of June, The Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation reported increased shipping volumes (compared to the month of June of the previous year), and a reduction in the year-to-date shipping volumes reported this year, as compared to 2013. Total cargo passed through the system increased from 3.8 million tonnes to 4.6 million tonnes, largely on the back of sharply increased grain shipments, and offsetting a severe slump in transits of iron ore.

At 1,435,000 tonnes, grain shipments represented 31.4 per cent of total volumes through the Seaway during the month of June, and were only slightly below May shipments of 1,495,000 tonnes. At 3.1 million tonnes, year-to-date grain shipments are 38 per cent ahead of 2013 year-to-date grain shipments of 2.3 million tonnes.

Bruce Wood, President and CEO of Hamilton Port Authority commented that “grain shipments through the Port of Hamilton are up 70 per cent this season compared to 2013. The Port is critical infrastructure in Ontario’s agricultural economy. The storage capacity at Hamilton terminals helps Ontario farmers get their product to market efficiently.” Tim Heney, President and CEO of Thunder Bay Port Authority said “The grain surge provided Thunder Bay with its busiest June in 17 years.  We are optimistic grain shipments will remain strong through the summer as the record harvest from 2013 continues to move to market.”

During the month, shipments of iron ore declined to 770,000 tonnes from 1.2 million tonnes in 2013. Shipments from U.S. ports declined significantly, while iron ore shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway totaled 2.4 million tonnes through June, a slight decrease compared to a year ago, reflecting lower levels of shipments from Pointe Noire following the closure of Wabush Mines in Labrador.

With the exception of iron ore, all commodity categories experienced increases in volume, or remained about the same, as compared to the month of June of 2013.