Shipping on St. Lawrence Seaway up

Sep 10, 2014

Shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway is up three percent from last year.  That's a big comeback after last year's long winter  delayed the season.

When the seaway opened in March, the shipping lanes were still clogged with ice. Freighter traffic didn't pick up until late May.  Much of the cargo was leftover grain from Canada. And then, shipping really picked up.

"To a large degree it's a story of the resiliency of the system to be able to respond like this and get the product out. But it's also a story now about another bumper grain and this time in the U.S. for this season," said Stephen Brooks, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Ottawa.

Record corn and soybean crops in the Midwest have led to four times as much U.S. grain moving through the seaway.  And large amounts of steel and aluminum for the U.S. automotive and construction industry is boosting business at the Port of Oswego, on Lake Ontario.  The shipping industry is an early indicator of the economy's overall health, says Brooks.

"It is really is a microcosm of the North American economy."

So the 3 percent increase in traffic is good news for an economy still trying to move past the recession.