Shipping season holds its ownShipping traffic through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway is best described as steady, or about the same as last year.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Shipping traffic through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway is best described as steady, or about the same as last year. Seaway officials are calling it a perfect storm of international economic and severe weather conditions to come up with little change in shipping tonnage figures so far.
Seaway Trade Development Director Rebecca Spruill says that is not necessarily bad news.
“I actually believe this is good considering the world wide economy,” she said. “We’re halfway through the 2012 Seaway season; we’re looking at a carbon copy of a year ago.”
Through the end of July, a little more than 17 million tons of cargo has made its way through the Seaway, with about 1800 ship trips. Spruill says grain is a big question mark this year because of the U.S. drought. However, she says other countries are having issues there too.
“Russia, Ukraine, they are also having drought problems this year,” she said. “I was looking at Brazil this morning and Brazil is showing a fairly decent season.”
The port of Duluth-Superior is seeing a modest increase in tonnage, up about 7 percent from last year. Duluth Seaway Port Director Adolph Ojard says he will take it.
“Certainly in some of the core items like iron ore, it’s been a very strong year in iron ore,” he said. “Coal was down somewhat, but that was anticipated. Our other cargoes are holding in there strong and are up. All in all, I see it as we approach the mid-season, as a good year.”
At the halfway point, U.S. flagged vessel traffic hauling cargo within the Great Lakes is also up slightly as well.