Despite an overall slow start for ports along the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor is reporting near-record volume. Officials say more than 1.1 million tons of cargo have been handled so far in the shipping season, which is the third-highest total on record.
The two previous years were the best on record for the Portage operation. Year-to-date, shipment tonnage is still 14 percent above the previous five-year average and last month’s totals were second-highest for any June on record. Ports of Indiana officials say key cargos making it through the port include coal, steel, limestone, fertilizer and oils, as well as some large project cargo. Port Director Rick Heimann says "new shipments of intermodal cranes helped drive June’s maritime port cargo numbers above the same period last year. "We’ve had multiple large cranes and containers of crane components arrive by ship from Europe that will be used to handle containers in multiple intermodal yards around the Midwest. June cargo volumes were also helped by new outbound shipments of recycled rubber and strong volumes of bulk commodities for use in the steel-making process by ArcelorMittal."
The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. says the shipping season throughout the seaway has been slower than anticipated to this point. Administrator Betty Sutton says "although the overall cargo numbers remain down when compared to the same time frame last year, in June we were above the five-year average. Imports arriving in the Great Lakes Seaway System kept longshoremen busy during the month of June. About 45 ships arrived from 19 different countries with high value cargo like windmill components, machinery, aluminum ingots, steel, sugar, and general cargo. Prior to leaving the System, vessels loaded export cargos that consisted of wheat, corn, soybeans, potash and general cargo loaded in containers."
From March 21 to June 30, shipments along the seaway were down nearly 7.7 percent.