U.S. grain exports up 10.7% 

According to the latest figures, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping recorded improvements in October with U.S. grain and project cargo shipments helping to lift tonnage volumes in an otherwise turbulent season.  

Some 27.7 million metric tons of cargo moved through the St. Lawrence Seaway (April 1 to October 31), down 7.9 percent from 2019. 

Year-to-date U.S. grain shipments (wheat, soybeans and corn) via the Seaway totaled 1.3 million metric tons, up 10.7 percent. The recent boost comes from Midwest grain exports heading to global destinations such as the United Kingdom, Israel and Portugal. 

Project cargo shipments so far this season, such as wind turbine components, also continue to hold strong, up 71 percent. Other cargo segments such as iron ore (-16%), dry bulk (-15%) and liquid bulk (-32%) remain down due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic. 

“There is strong world demand for U.S. grain products like wheat and soybeans and that’s led to increasing export volumes through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. We expect this momentum to continue heading into the busiest months of the season,” Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said in a news release. “In November and December, manufacturers stockpile inventory for the winter months, municipalities stock up on road salt ahead of the snowy weather and grain exports are pushed out before the season closes. This year has certainly been challenging for many of us, including ports and ship operators, but we’re optimistic we’ll continue seeing improvements as we enter these final weeks.”