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Seaway officials: 2012 shipping season “exceeded” expectations

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The St. Lawrence Seaway had a busier shipping season in 2012 than anticipated, according to officials.

The Canadian Seaway Management Corp. said today that the tonnage of goods that crossed the channel had increased by 4 percent — to 38.9 million tons from 37.5 million tons — over 2011, exceeding their original forecast by 300,000 tons.

The rise in overall shipping volume was owed in part to a late season surge in grain movements, they said in a news release.

“The Seaway was instrumental in providing grain shippers with the means to rapidly respond and capitalize on market opportunities late in the season”, said Terence F. Bowles, president and CEO of the Seaway Management Corp.

Strong Canadian grain movements had offset a sharp drop in U.S. grain movements due to the drought this year, the Seaway said.

There was a notable increase in shipments of iron ore — a 14.6 percent rise over 2011 to 10,135 tons — crossing the Seaway for export to overseas destinations, such as China.

Also, demand for low sulphur coal in Europe led to a substantial increase in coal shipment volumes — to 4,628 tons, a 23.7 percent increase over the 2011 navigation season.

The Seaway wrapped up its 2012 season on Dec. 29.

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