The St Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation said Monday that tonnage shipped increased 4% to 38.9 million tonnes over its 2012 navigation season, beating its initial forecast by 300,000 tonnes.
The significant performances of those core markets helped it to gain an overall 1.4Mt year-on-year from 2011’s result of 37.5Mt.
Low-sulphur coal demand in Europe was the driver for big jumps in coal volumes, the SLSMC said, while iron ore was also up on the business of Chinese steel mills.
“The shipments of coal and iron ore were brought to the Great Lakes and loaded on domestic Laker vessels,” officials said in its Monday report.
“The Lakers then proceeded from the Great Lakes to the lower St Lawrence River, where the commodities were trans-shipped to larger ocean vessels for export to overseas destinations.”
The group’s bright year was topped off by the use of a number of newly built state-of-the art vessels that came into service over the year, resulting in significant increases in fuel efficiency and emissions reductions.
“These new vessels, part of a billion-dollar fleet renewal effort by domestic and ocean carriers, combined with our marketing efforts, which have recorded 10.6Mt in new business over the past five years, underscore the Seaway’s future potential,” one executive said.
St Lawrence Seaway closed for the season on December 29.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, an agency of the US Department of Transportation, oversees the movement of marine traffic through US-owned and operated facilities of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
It shares the system with Canadian counterpart Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.