National Newswatch

Hopes high for increased grain shipments this year.

Ottawa—The St. Lawrence Seaway saw cargo tonnage drop by just over 5 per cent during 2022 to 36.2 million tonnes compared to the previous year but there were several bright spots as the number of ships passing through the system rose by 92 to 4,010 with the return of cruise ships.

Liquid bulk shipments rose by close to 10 per cent to 3.6 million tonnes while dry bulk movements were up 2.8 per cent to 11.7 million tonnes. Grain shipments were down almost 733,000 tonnes to 9.9 million tonnes due to the drought on the Prairies in 2021 while iron ore movements fell by 9.5 per cent to 6.2 million tonnes and general cargo was off 21.5 per cent to just over 3 million tonnes. Coal continued its annual downward spiral falling by 657 tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes.

The Seaway said global issues affecting fertilizer supplies drove significant growth in potash shipments, which were up more than 100 per cent compared to 2021. Petroleum products movements increased nearly 28 per cent over 2021 due to increased air and vehicle travel. An improved 2022 grain harvest is expected to produce a strong start for 2023.

“Seaway traffic results show positive trends amongst certain commodities, which demonstrates our system’s ability to quickly adapt to changes in the market,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the Canadian Seaway Management Corp.

“It’s this agility that enables the Seaway to respond to changes and act on emerging opportunities, such as shifting trade patterns resulting from global events. In addition, we are working closely with partners to develop lands along the Seaway, which will benefit both the economy and local communities.”

Adam Tindall-Schlicht, Administrator of the U.S. Seaway Corp., said, “Through decades of investment and reliability, the Great Lakes are uniquely positioned to weather upheavals in the global supply chain. The Seaway System is a leading example of a worldwide economically-resilient and environmentally-sustainable shipping corridor, and optimism is high for expansion of trade on the Great Lakes in 2023.”

The last commercial transit of the 2022 navigation season through the Montreal-Lake Ontario (MLO) section of the Seaway occurred on Jan. 1. The Welland Canal closed on Jan. 9 marking the conclusion of the fourth year of the Welland Canal season extension pilot program.

The Seaway corporations will now carry out maintenance work on critical lock and maritime assets to ensure the Seaway system continues to deliver safe and reliable service year after year by managing its assets efficiently.

Though there continues to be some uncertainty with regards to economic growth in 2023, the Seaway corporations will work on key initiatives to further support expanding trade on the Great Lakes. These include facilitating the establishment of green shipping corridors, expanding land development along canals and developing innovative technologies, such as the Vessel Information System. “It’s this spirit of continuous improvement and agile performance that make the Seaway a relevant transportation system today, and an integral part of future solutions,” Bowles said.

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