Petroleum products and shipments of U.S. grain continued to lead the way in August, as 3.46 million tons of cargo moved through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system.

For the 2022 shipping season through the end of August, Great Lakes Seaway shipping has reached nearly 19.2 million tons.

Year-to-date shipments of U.S. grain reached 557,000 tons which represents a 29.2% increase over last year at this time. Petroleum products, meanwhile, remain strong with year-to-date totals reaching nearly 1.5 million tons, more than 40% above last year’s totals through August. 

Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said U.S. grain shipments to Europe and North Africa continue to be strong in response to the situation in Ukraine.  

“We are optimistically looking forward to a strong finish to the shipping season with the continued positive impact of international trade throughout the Great Lakes region,” Burrows said in a statement announcing the new numbers. “While U.S. grain shipments have grown considerably, we anticipate a surge this fall in Canadian grain as the new harvest starts to be shipped.”

At the Port of Toledo (Ohio), more than one million tons of cargo was moved in August to put 2022 tonnage 13% ahead of last year.

“It’s great to see tonnage up this year and we are equally excited by all of capital improvement projects taking place at the Port of Toledo,” said Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “The projects at the Toledo Shipyard and general cargo dock represent approximately $25 million in investment and will help ensure the resiliency and long-term viability of these facilities for decades to come. We are also working with our terminal operators to make even more space available at the Port for material handling and projects involving rail and vessel transloading. We are always looking ahead and planning for future growth and new opportunities.”

The Port of Monroe (Mich.) has commissioned a new Manitowoc crawler crane purchased with funds through the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Marine Highway program.

“As a marine highway, the port and our stakeholders are committed to developing and expanding marine highway service options and expand use of navigable waterways in the U.S.,” said Sam Hankinson, port development coordinator. “This is a perfect example of how we are working with our industry partners and stakeholders to create new short-sea-shipping opportunities in the Great Lakes — St. Lawrence Seaway system.” 

August brought the Port of Duluth-Superior (Minn.) its best monthly tonnage total since July 2021, with more than 4 million short tons of maritime cargo transiting North America’s farthest inland seaport. The 13-month high pushed Duluth-Superior’s season-to-date total past 16.6 million tons. In total, the port counted 94 vessel arrivals in August, its most in a single month since August 2019.

“It was a very good month for maritime shipping — and for ship-watching enthusiasts — in the Port of Duluth-Superior, and we’re hoping the late-summer rally extends through the fall and early winter,” said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.