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Canadian exports give St. Lawrence Seaway shipping solid start


OTTAWA, Ont.–Canadian exports to the U.S. and abroad have kept St. Lawrence Seaway

cargo shipments at a solid pace, despite tough economic conditions for some commodities.

“We’re encouraged by the results for the season to date, considering difficult markets for

commodities like iron ore,” said Chamber of Marine Commerce President Stephen Brooks.

“Thankfully Canadian manufacturers and producers increasingly recognize the Great Lakes-

Seaway as a cost-efficient, sustainable way to export directly into the U.S economic heartland.”

“There are certainly some bright spots so far. Canadian exports of machinery, aluminum and dry

bulk cargoes like cement have been strong. Businesses are responding to demand from the

U.S. automotive and construction industries,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

Seaway year-to-date shipments (March 21 to May 31) reached 6.5 million metric tons, down 4

per cent (282,000 metric tons) compared to the same period last year, due mainly to tonnage

decreases in iron ore and imported steel.

However, there were a number of positive cargo categories.

Dry bulk cargo shipments, in the same period, totaled 1.9 million metric tons, up five per cent,

with strong performances from cement, road salt and gypsum.

Jim Reznik, Director of Logistics, North America, for Votorantim Cimentos, said: “The milder

winter has led to a jumpstart to the construction season. Last year, construction activity in the

U.S. Great Lakes grew as the economy improved and, so far, we’re seeing that continue. With

the Seaway opening earlier, we have been able to get extra vessel loads out to serve our

customers.”

St. Marys Cement, part of Votorantim Cimentos, transports cement and/or clinker from its

Bowmanville, Ontario plant to its facilities in Cleveland, Toledo and Detroit for residential and

commercial construction projects.

Seaway shipments of domestic general cargo were also up 64 per cent, with McKeil Marine

vessels transporting aluminum from a plant in Sept-Iles, Quebec to Oswego, NY, Detroit,

Michigan and Toledo, Ohio for automotive manufacturing.

“McKeil currently has two vessels dedicated to transporting aluminum sows for our long-standing

customer Aluminerie Alouette, the Alouette Spirit and our flagship bulk carrier the Evans Spirit,

the newest vessel in our fleet,” said Steve Fletcher, President of McKeil Marine.

“As we celebrate our 60th year in business, we’re very optimistic about this shipping season, due largely

in part to the increase in aluminum volumes resulting from current European pricing and an

increased demand in the U.S. marketplace.”

Project cargo, such as oversized machinery, is expected to be another strong cargo category

this season.

This week, Logistec’s cargo handling experts coordinated a short sea shipping project to move

78 tower sections aboard the M/V Rosaire A. Desgagnés from Port Weller, Ontario to Sheet

Harbour, Nova Scotia. Turbine manufacturer ENERCON produced the pieces locally in the

 

Niagara region. Logistec is loading and unloading all cargo, and will store the pieces in the

Maritimes until regional construction sites are ready to put each turbine in place.

In May, Siemens Canada used the Port of Hamilton to ship 36 turbine blades to Europe, the

second time the manufacturer has used the Port to export products overseas in two years – due

to its proximity to the Siemens plant in Tillsonburg, Ontario and because of its experienced

stevedores.

“Facilitating trade and supporting Ontario manufacturing is what we’re all about. The recent

shipment of windmill components showcases the Port of Hamilton’s facilities and our capability

to deliver goods anywhere in the world,” said Ian Hamilton, Vice President of Business

Development and Real Estate for Hamilton Port Authority.


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