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Seaway officials say tonnage down over 7 percent compared to last year


MASSENA - The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 28 to June 30 were 11.2 million metric tons, down 7 percent over the same period in 2013.

Iron ore and coal – usually solid performers – were both down by 37 and 21 percent respectively. General cargo was up 44 percent overall with steel and project cargo shipments posting increases of 111 and 119 percent over 2013.

U.S. grain shipments were down by 8 percent in June over last year. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 25 percent to just over 1 million metric tons. The dry bulk category was also down by 2.5 percent over 2013. However, within that category, stone, salt, cement and gypsum were all in the positive column, with stone at a 78 percent hike.

U.S. ports throughout the Great Lakes uniformly saw increased tonnage in several cargo categories during June.

“Salt, chemicals, and steel all posted excellent tonnage numbers through June when compared to last year’s figures,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the SLSDC. “We’re rapidly making up ground for the slow start to the season imposed by a winter lasting well into April. Our U.S. ports are encouraged by the increase in traffic, most notably salt, registering a double digit percentage increase, dry chemicals which saw a threefold tonnage increase, and high value general cargo on track to top 2.5 million tons.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation said vessel transits are down 9.8 percent year to date compared to last year, dropping from 1,305 vessels entering the system in 2013 to 1,177 this year.

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