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Seaway shipping posts best year in over a decade

Jan 17, 2019 10:34 AM

Traffic increased nearly 7 percent year over year in 2018

Courtesy Great Lakes Seaway Partnership

The following is text of a news release from the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership:

(WASHINGTON) — The St. Lawrence Seaway, North America’s binational marine highway connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, recently completed its best year for cargo shipments since 2007, reports the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership. With total cargo shipments of 40.9 million metric tons during the 2018 navigation season, St. Lawrence Seaway traffic increased nearly 7 percent year over year. Additionally, total vessel transits were up nearly 6 percent over 2017.

“Total tonnage on the St. Lawrence Seaway exceeded the five-, 10-, and 15-year averages, making 2018 an exceptionally strong shipping season, the best in over a decade,” said Craig Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. “In particular, we were pleased to see heightened activity on the Seaway in December. Overall gains in year-over-year commodity increases were widespread, most notably in U.S. grain export trade. The investments in Seaway infrastructure and technology are achieving greater efficiencies for our customers and enhancing the binational waterway’s global competitiveness.”

Top three cargoes:

Grain: 12.1 million metric tons, a 20 percent YOY
Dry bulk 10.7 million metric tons, a 3 percent YOY
Liquid bulk: 4.5 million metric tons, a 22 percent YOY

Cargo diversification and international trade raised the tide

“The 2018 navigation season was an exceptional year for the Illinois International Port District (IIPD),” said Clayton Harris III, executive director, IIPD. “This is attributed to our diversification of cargo, which was enabled by empowering our maritime and logistics operator, North American Stevedoring Co., and maximizing the potential of Federal Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 22. These strategies encouraged more shippers to call on our port and bring more specialized cargo such as copper and aluminum than previous years.”

Collaboration increases economic impact  

“The port is as vibrant as ever,” said Paul C. LaMarre III, port director, Port of Monroe. “Our agile approach to multimodal logistics as well as our strategic partnerships established in 2018, have set the foundation for 2019.” The navigation season for the Port of Monroe began with an investment of $3.6 million in a new dock. This momentum continued with a new partnership with The Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard to establish towing and shipyard services at the port. The season concluded with bringing the Iver Bright, a liquid asphalt tanker into port.

“For the port, this was the perfect way to end the season and it showcased all of our strategic partners and how a single new cargo can affect multiple stakeholders and collaboration drives economic impact. The Great Lakes Towing Company provided ice breaking services in the harbor; Central Marine Logistics Inc. & Inter Ship provided vessel operation services; Lakes Pilots Association provided pilotage services; and our multimodal logistics operator, DRM provided dock services. This contributed to a successful operation for our customer, the largest asphalt blending facility in the region, Michigan Paving & Materials.”

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