Consistency Combines with New Services to Define Start of US Great Lakes Shipping for 2023

The first tonnage statistics for the 65th navigation season on the St. Lawrence Seaway indicate an overall start that is in line to prior year’s traffic at this point in the season. From mid-March to the end of April 3,367 thousand tonnes of total traffic traversed the seaway – down slightly from the 3,912 thousand tonnes of traffic recorded for the same period last year, and with significant variation across commodities.

Ores and concentrates got off to an especially strong start, up 252.3% year over year (a total of 32 thousand tonnes for the period), as did steel slabs (up 109.77% year over year – a total of 40 thousand tonnes), and cement (up 11.79% year over year – a total of 231 thousand tonnes.)

“Tonnage through April exceeded the five-season average for almost every cargo category moving through the Port of Duluth-Superior,” said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “Iron ore led the way in terms of total tonnage, with more than 2.4 million short tons shipped from our port during March and April, which topped the five-season average by 10 percent. Cement, limestone, salt and coal shipments also exceeded the five-season average.”

As the movement of goods is now well underway for 2023, so too is a new Duluth-Antwerp trans-Atlantic liner service from Spliethoff that builds upon the waterborne container service introduced in Duluth last year. The new service, which features regular monthly calls at the Duluth Cargo Connect facilities for breakbulk, project and containerized cargoes, plus special bulk cargo arrangements, kicked off in early May.

“Not only does this new service provide an efficient, consistent import-export option between Antwerp and North America’s furthest-inland seaport, it also significantly reduces carbon emissions and land-based congestion, so this is also a win from an environmental standpoint,” said DeLuca. “It expands the viability of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System as a routing alternative for moving cargoes into and out of the Upper Midwest and beyond.”

The new service helps build critical mass with existing liner service in Cleveland, and further increases the breadth of cargoes transiting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.

“Cargo diversification continues to be a focus for members of the Chamber of Marine Commerce throughout the United States, and they are evolving to meet the needs of shippers by successfully introducing new service offerings like the containerized shipping service offered by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority,” said Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.  “Responsiveness defined the domestic marine shipping industry during the recent periods of supply chain disruptions, and we continue to move the goods that move our economy in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. I look forward to seeing chamber members build on that reputation throughout the coming year.”

Flickr – Download photos of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence shipping industry

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 100 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system’s significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:

Jason Card

Chamber of Marine Commerce

(613) 447 5401