Dry bulk, petroleum products lead November Great Lakes-Seaway shipping

Marine shipping on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway system is entering the final stretch of 2022 after a long, resilient season. Through November 30, over 31.5 million tonnes of cargo have transited the Seaway, nearly 4 million of which were moved in November.

“The November 2022 figures are more nuanced than they seem at first glance,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “For example, although the 2022 year-to-date numbers for Canadian grain are down (11.38%) compared to the same period in 2021, the amount of Canadian grain shipped in November 2022 is actually up 10% compared to the amount of Canadian grain that was shipped in November 2021. Therefore, Canadian grain did perform to the standard that we expected it would in November.”

“The same can be said for general cargo, which was down 22.35% in November 2022, however general cargo had a phenomenal November 2021, where it was up 71%. Comparing year vs. year paints a different picture.”

Dry Bulk goods (up 1.42%) had a good month, including petcoke (up nearly 16%), salt (up 17.23%), potash (up 184%) and dry chemicals (up 2%). Liquid bulk also showed positive signs (up 8.54%) as petroleum products were up 27.45%. Total transits were up 1.7% in November.

Bowles adds, “Overall, the system is fluid, and we’re prepared for the big final push as indications are there should be a smooth closure of the Seaway this season.”

The Port of Johnstown echoed Bowles’ sentiments about fluidity and Canadian grain as the Port saw an 11% increase in soybean exports in November. The Port is now fully utilizing its new $12.5 million dollar spout loading system which was the result of a partnered investment with the Federal government through the National Trade Corridor Funding.

“These types of partnerships are needed for smaller ports like ours and the results speak for themselves,” said Robert Dalley, General Manager at the Port of Johnstown. “Vessels are now being loaded quicker and more efficiently resulting in less greenhouse emissions while the vessel is at berth. The second phase of our Grain Export project is scheduled for 2023 with more automation so that we can extend our vessel loading hours. The positive ripple effects will see more grain trucks moved through the Port during harvest season providing a much-needed relief for the local grain producers. Again, less time at the dock means less greenhouse emissions.”

Dalley acknowledges past projects and investments are paying off as the Port expects a 15% increase over 2021. Harbour services are also up, over 20%, and breakbulk steel is up 80% with over 30,000 metric tonnes of pipe received and placed on the newly-developed 8.5 acres of cargo storage lay-down space (Uplands) ready to be transported out by rail.

The Port of Johnstown, owned by the Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal, continues to plan for the future with the recent purchase of an additional 36 acres of land that will be made ready to accept additional cargos.

Picton Terminals had a busy November as final shipments began, and preparations took place with the cleaning of its Toronto waterfront sites for tugs and barges to stay this winter. Picton received six steel beam shipments in 2022, an increase from four shipments the last few years, and are on track for at least another six in 2023. Each steel beam shipment averages 30,000 metric tonnes. Picton anticipates a sugar shipment before the holidays too.

A beautiful fall shipping season was evident at the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority’s (HOPA) three grain terminals. With harvest reaching its peak in October, the Port Authority is now looking towards the end of the season with exports surpassing two million metric tonnes, a 7% increase over the same period last year.

“We are proud of Canadian farmers and their commitment to supplying high quality grain products to market,” says Ian Hamilton, HOPA President and CEO. “Our mission is to facilitate trade, and we aim to ensure a reliable supply chain amid the ongoing challenges in the Ukraine and fluctuations in commodity prices across North America. Many Ontario producers have worked through adverse growing conditions in parts of the province, but despite that, they continue to deliver an exceptional product and have been able to grow exports by 6% year-to-date.”

Port Windsor reports strong November numbers as the shipping season reaches the year-end. Overall tonnage at the Port is up 30.9% over the same period in 2021 and exceeds 5 million tonnes for the first time in 3 years.

Aggregates (up 74%) are big news at the Port, as North America’s largest EV plant ordered 1 million tonnes in September for their foundation works. Cement is also up (450%), as the Gordie Howe International Bridge begins concrete work on their Canadian plaza. Salt continues to match normal volumes (up 65%), with the mine’s new seam in steady production, as the Port closes out the year.

Canadian ships transiting Port Windsor are up by 22%, truck ferry traffic is up 75%, and cruise ship business has seen an increase of 148% in passenger numbers.


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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. Follow the Chamber of Marine Commerce on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:

Maggie Murphy

Chamber of Marine Commerce


(705) 934-0601