Cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway as measured by tonnage declined 5.3 percent in 2013, ending a streak of three straight annual increases, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. said.
The Welland Canal, which is part of the Seaway, recorded a 2.3 percent drop in cargo shipments from a year ago. Shipments on the Montreal-Lake Ontario section declined 9 percent from 2012. Grain shipments declined 3.2 percent from last year. But Seaway officials said the high volumes of grain going into storage, due to a late harvest in the prairies, and pent-up demand for grain movements “bodes well” for the start of the upcoming navigation season.
Shipments of iron ore and coal declined 4 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Movements of dry bulk – including cement and aggregates – were down 12 percent, while reduced imports of steel products led to a 20 percent drop in general cargo shipments. The Seaway closed for the season Jan. 1; it typically reopens in late March.