Seaway traffic up, despite slow start to season

Seaway traffic up, despite slow start to season

CORNWALL, Ontario – You may not have noticed it, but there’s been a traffic jam in and around Cornwall.

Shipping traffic through the St. Lawrence Seaway spiked in May as vessels helped clear Canada’s grain backlog.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, the number of ocean-going vessels travelling through the navigation system in May was more than double what is normally seen at this time of year — with the majority coming to pick up grain for export overseas.

Canadian domestic ships were also busy transporting grain from the Port of Thunder Bay to Quebec ports to be loaded onto ocean carriers.

Despite a crippling start to the shipping season due to ice coverage, Canadian grain shipments from March 25 to May 31 totaled 1.4 million tonnes, an increase of 2.4 per cent over the same period last year.

Shipments of stone, salt and general cargo through the St. Lawrence Seaway were also strong, however, total year-to-date cargo shipments were down 20 per cent as other commodities have yet to catch up from delays at the start of the season.

“The St. Lawrence Seaway is playing a critical role in relieving the Canadian grain backlog that built up over the winter months. We’re seeing a huge spike in ocean vessels coming into the system and the Canadian Great Lakes fleet is going gangbusters to respond to orders from the grain companies. We’re optimistic that this activity will continue through the summer,” said Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

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