Shipping across the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway system topped 4.2 million tons in October, led by strong gains in grain, potash, salt and other dry bulk cargos, the Chamber of Marine Commerce reported today.

Overall grain shipments reached 1.5 million tons, due to the strong late harvest in various regions of the Great Lakes.

“It’s great to see these positive numbers for the late harvesting of grain in the U.S. and Canada,” said Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “The promising trend for grain continues to show the important role the Seaway plays in exporting goods from the Great Lakes to the rest of the world. There has also been a significant increase in the number of vessel transits, another demonstration of the vitality of waterborne transportation throughout the region.”    

Overall shipping on the seaway system through October was 27.6 million tons, a steady improvement over the past few months.

Meanwhile, dry bulk shipments remain strong with potash up 190% over last year, salt up 22.3% and petcoke running 18% ahead of 2021 year-to-date totals, the chamber said. Shipments of petroleum products have also been strong, posting a 37% increase over 2021.

The Port of Toledo (Ohio) reported year-to-date cargo shipments of over 9.5 million tons at the end of October, a 5.5% increase over the same period in 2021.

“Grain, iron ore, coal and general cargo are all exceeding last year’s pace,” said Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “It’s great to see a parade of lakers and ocean vessels sailing up the Maumee River through downtown Toledo this time of year to load grain at The Andersons and ADM. We also have a lot of activity at the mouth of the river where iron ore, aluminum, steel, coal, and bulk products are handled at CSX and Midwest Terminals.” 

More than 3.1 million short tons of maritime cargo transited the Port of Duluth-Superior, Duluth, Minn., in October, lifting season-to-date tonnage past 23.4 million. Inbound general cargo shipments are tracking toward their highest tonnage total in almost 40 years, providing a high-value economic boost on the working waterfront.

Led by shipments of wind energy cargo and massive industrial pieces, general cargo tonnage neared 24,000 tons for the month of October and 96,000 tons for the season. The last time Duluth-Superior topped 90,000 tons of general cargo in a single season was 1991 (98,645).

“It’s been a very strong year for general cargo shipments, which feature outsized economic value per ton in comparison to bulk cargo, and also help support development of industry and greener energy sources.” said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.