The Ports of Hamilton and Oshawa are enjoying a good start to this years Seaway shipping season. This as, Canadian Great Lakes ports and the St. Lawrence Seaway are reporting an uptick in cargo shipments this season, a reflection of the economic upturn in North America.
St. Lawrence Seaway cargo volumes from March 22 through April 30 totaled 4 million metric tonnes, up 3.7 per cent from the same time period in 2020.
Canadian grain, one of the strongest performers in 2020, is off to a strong start this year, up 15.5 per cent. The increase this year is being driven by Ontario soybean exports, corn and wheat via ports such as Hamilton, Windsor and Johnstown, along with robust Prairie grain exports out of the Port of Thunder Bay.
Construction materials, including cement shipments to Ontario and the United States, have helped boost the dry bulk category, up 1.6 per cent over 2020. Shipments of iron ore via the Seaway for Canadian steel production have increased 6.89 per cent and general cargo has risen 23.2 per cent due to increases of iron and steel imports from Europe and other overseas destinations.
“Shipments through April are a positive reflection of the recovering economies and growing demand for goods in Canada and the United States,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “The increase in construction materials is a welcome turnaround from 2020 and a promising start to the year.”
The Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) 2021 shipping season is also off to a strong start as both ports’ navigation seasons began on March 24, reaching a combined 1.192 million metric tonnes of cargo through April 30.
Year-to-date, Hamilton is up over 20 per cent compared to the start of the 2020 season with dramatic increases in grain and fertilizer after a strong fall harvest and perhaps in anticipation of this year’s demand for Ontario-grown grain. Since the season opened, 66 vessels have transited Hamilton’s port, carrying grain, fertilizer, gypsum, petroleum, iron ore and other steel-making materials.
Two of these vessels were Desgagnés ships making a pitstop in Hamilton to re-fuel with liquified natural gas (LNG), a new service offered by HOPA in partnership with REV LNG, a Pennsylvania-based liquefied natural gas services provider.
On the other side of Lake Ontario, the Port of Oshawa’s cement and steel imports are feeding new projects and residential construction customers on the other side of the Greater Toronto Area.
“As the economic recovery continues to gain momentum, the value of an integrated transportation network becomes increasingly apparent,” said HOPA Ports CEO, Ian Hamilton. “We look forward to strengthening the might of Ontario’s industries, with efficient and sustainable multimodal connections and data-informed decision making.”