International shipping on the Great Lakes is up 18 percent so far this year.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. reported cargo shipments totaled 16 million tons between March 20 and July 31, an increase of 2.5 million tons over the same period in 2016. About 3.7 million tons of iron ore has been shipped, a 68.5 percent increase year-over-year.
“We continue to see demand for raw materials that are needed for construction and in the manufacturing and automotive industries,” said Bruce Burrows with the Chamber of Marine Commerce. "The jump in iron ore shipments is fueled primarily by a surge in exports going from Minnesota to Japan and China."
Exports have boosted the Iron Range that also supplies Northwest Indiana's steel mills.
“It’s encouraging to have all six mines on Minnesota’s Iron Range operating once again,” said Adele Yorde, spokesman for the Port of Duluth. “Year-to-date tonnage for pellets was running a full 16 percent ahead of last year and outpacing the five-year average by the same spread. Not only are domestic deliveries up on the Lower Lakes, overseas shipments have risen exponentially as well. More than 35 percent of the pellets moved through our port through June have been loaded onto Canadian carriers and shipped via the Seaway to Quebec for transshipment overseas.”
General cargo shipments on the Great Lakes have risen by 35 percent, while dry bulk tonnage is up 15.5 percent, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.
“International tonnage at our port is up 10 percent through July versus the same period in 2016" said Dave Gutheil, vice president with the Port of Cleveland Maritime Operations. "Project cargo has more than doubled and containers have increased slightly.”