June Cargo Upswing at U.S. Ports

U.S. ports throughout the Great Lakes uniformly saw increased tonnage in several cargo categories during the month of June 2014.

“Salt, chemicals, and steel all posted excellent tonnage numbers through June when compared to last year’s figures,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the SLSDC. “We’re rapidly making up ground for the slow start to the season imposed by a winter lasting well into April. Our
U.S. ports are encouraged by the increase in traffic, most notably salt, registering a double digit percentage increase, dry chemicals which saw a threefold tonnage increase, and high value general cargo on track to top 2.5 million tons.”

“Industry spirits were buoyed by strong gains in cargo movements during the month of June,” noted Vanta Coda, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director. “We had two ships from Europe arrive loaded with energy-related project cargo destined for North Dakota and Alberta, Canada. Coal and iron
ore tonnages were up by 16 and 7 percent respectively over May. And, both commodities were running ahead of where they stood a year ago – coal up 17 percent in June 2014 and iron ore up nearly 48 percent compared to the same month’s totals in 2013.”

Coda acknowledged that the year-to-date snapshot is a bit more sobering – total tonnage for the port is still off 17 percent. However, he was quick to point out, “We’re moving in the right direction, having made double digit gains in most commodity groups during June.”

However, citing a St. Lawrence Seaway report, ALGPA say that year-to-date total cargo shipments for
the period March 28 to June 30 were 11.2 million metric tons, down 7 percent over the same period in 2013. Iron ore and coal – usually solid performers – were both down by 37 and 21 percent respectively.

General cargo was up 44 percent overall with steel and project cargo shipments posting increases of 111 and 119 percent over 2013.