CORNWALL, Ont.—The Saint Lawrence Seaway shipping route ended its 280-day 2014 shipping season with 40-million tonnes of cargo volume, a seven per cent increase over 2013 levels.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) says that means the seaway has finally made a full recovery to pre-2009 cargo levels.
Grain was the standout cargo of the season as farmers and grain merchants furiously sought avenues to move the bumper crop from 2013 that sat idle as oil shipments clogged rail lines.
“There can be little question that the seaway proved its value as a vital transportation artery in 2014” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the SLSMC. “Carriers moved over 12 million tonnes of grain through our locks, the highest volume since the turn of the century some 14 years ago. We are also pleased with our various marketing initiatives and toll incentives, to which we attribute about 2.5 million tonnes of new business during 2014”.
The St. Lawrence Seaway also saw more ocean-going vessels than usual. On multiple occasions in 2014, SLSMC says there were more than 50 ocean vessels within the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.
The seaway ended its 2014 on January 1, 2015, with the eastbound vessel Sten Bergen transiting the St. Lambert Lock in Montreal and the last vessel to exit the Welland Canal was the Algoma Navigator on December 31.
The St. Lawrence Seaway is a crucial shipping route that supports 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity.