INDUSTRY: Optimism buoy’s 2012 shipping seasonShipping officials expect the Twin Ports to see a steady and strong season this year.
By: Duluth News Tribune, Superior Telegram
Shipping officials expect the Twin Ports to see a steady and strong season this year.
Close to 1,000 ships are expected to visit the Twin Ports, moving roughly 40 million tons of cargo.
Last year, the port’s shipments topped 37 million tons.
“We expect to see more general cargo, with at least a dozen shipments of wind components and other project cargo commitments on the books,” Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Adolph Ojard said in a news release Tuesday. “Coal volume should increase with additional exports contracted to Europe. The iron mining industry is still the biggest economic driver for shipping here in the Twin Ports; iron ore shipments mirror both domestic and global demand for steel and pellet production on Minnesota’s Iron Range. Absent any major changes in the world economy, plants will continue to run at maximum capacity, and the 2012 shipping season should be steady and strong.”
While the Mesabi Miner will be the first ship leaving the Twin Ports this shipping season, others will follow shortly. The John G. Munson is also scheduled to leave Tuesday with a load of coal cargo for delivery across Lake Superior.
In addition to the Miner and Munson, deck departments for the over wintering Edwin H. Gott, Roger Blough, American Spirit, American Century, Walter J. McCarthy and John J. Boland have or will shortly arrive to fit out the vessels for sailing.
The American Victory and Edward L. Ryerson will remain in layup at Fraser Shipyards. The Victory has been laid up since 2008, the Ryerson since 2009.
In part because of the lack of lake ice this winter, a handful of Canadian-flag lakers will arrive in the Twin Ports late next week from winter layup in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to take on cargo bound for the lower lakes.
The Soo Locks are scheduled to reopen March 25, meaning the Twin Ports will probably see regular maritime traffic patterns resume the following week.
Locks on the Montreal/Lake Ontario section and the Welland Canal sections of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway are scheduled to reopen March 22. The Seaway allows oceangoing ships to reach the Twin Ports. Last year, the port’s first saltie, the Federal Leda, arrived on April 11.