OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System has moved 689,000 tonnes of US grain through September 2022, a 41% increase year over year.

The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership on Oct. 18 announced the tonnage report for St. Lawrence System traffic through September. The numbers show that the seaway system continues to provide a reliable global shipping route for agricultural products. 

“September’s tonnage report reaffirms that the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a reliable shipping corridor enabling US growers and producers to feed the world,” said Jeff Scharf, acting deputy administrator, Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. “With a busy few months remaining in the 2022 season, we’re confident that our Great Lakes ports are ready to finish the year strong.”

It’s estimated that US Great Lakes ports traded with at least 15 countries during September, compared to 23 in August. Shipments through September 2022 totaled 23.36 million tonnes, down nearly 6% compared with 24.75 million tonnes at the same time a year ago.

The Port of Toledo on Lake Erie surpassed 8 million tonnes for the season during the month of September, a month that included three inbound aluminum shipments and two outbound grain shipments.

“We believe the positive momentum of the 2022 shipping season will continue into the fourth quarter,” said Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority. “We are looking forward to the fall harvest when grain products from the Toledo region will be exported throughout the world.  Watching farmers line up their trucks to deliver their products at the terminals and then to see that product immediately loaded onto an ocean vessel for export demonstrates the reliability and capabilities of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System as a critical link to the global marketplace.   It’s a true demonstration of the supply chain in action.”

On Lake Superior, more than 3.6 million short tons of maritime cargo transited the Port of Duluth-Superior in September, lifting total tonnage past 20.3 million for the season in North America’s farthest-inland seaport. While still nearly 9% below the five-season average, that total tonnage deficit declined 1.4% compared to August and nearly 10% since June 30.

“July marked a turning point, August was very good, and September was solid in terms of total tonnage and vessel traffic through the Port of Duluth-Superior,” said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “It’s been a nice rally and we’re hopeful that it will continue with a good harvest season, reactivation of Duluth Elevator A, more general cargo shipments scheduled and generally promising market conditions for some of our natural resource bulk cargoes.”

At Port Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, shipments of steel and pieces of a yacht were received.

“Port Milwaukee is realizing new maritime commerce opportunities with an increase of high-value breakbulk and project cargoes traveling through our terminals,” said Adam Tindall-Schlicht, director of Port Milwaukee. “From The DeLong Co., Inc. assembling a new ship loader for agricultural exports, to the delivery of curved steel plates, brewery tanks, and superyacht pieces, Port Milwaukee stands ready to welcome and transport cargo of all kinds in supporting regional economic activity that moves the Great Lakes supply chain forward.”

The Port of Monroe/DRM Terminal Management team celebrated the christening of Interlake Steamship Company’s new vessel Mark W. Barker in September and welcomed the ship to Monroe for the first time in early October. The ship loaded a cargo of synthetic gypsum at the turning basin dock on Lake Erie for delivery to Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.

“Any time a vessel of the Interlake Steamship Co. calls upon the Port, it is special,” said Captain Paul C. LaMarre III, port director, Port of Monroe. “In this case, it is historic. Interlake’s continued support of our growth and cargo diversification has made them a major piece of the Port’s living Great Lakes legacy. We are excited to work with Interlake and use this versatile vessel to move multiple cargoes in and out of the Port.”