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Increases in shipping at Port of Hamilton help fuel Seaway traffic jump

Increases in shipping at Port of Hamilton help fuel Seaway traffic jump

As of July 31, the ports of Hamilton and Oshawa saw over 4.8 million metric tons of cargo combined this season. The strength in the amount of bulk and breakbulk cargos feeding construction projects around the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area has continued; including finished steel, cement, sand, slag, stone and other aggregates.

In July, over 1.1 million metric tons came through the Port of Hamilton alone. Year-to-date grain and fertilizer cargoes are up 13 and 31 per cent, respectively, compared to the same time last year. General/project cargo tonnages are also up significantly, including containers from the inaugural HCT feeder service sailing, as well as specialized equipment and industrial supplies through FMT’s Hamilton terminal.

Recently, HOPA announced the signing of Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd, a new marine-industrial tenant at the Thorold Multimodal Hub. CME will occupy more than 18,000 sq. ft of space, and complete dock-side repairs to serve marine, power generation, mining, and industrial customers in Central Canada.

 Boosted by strong shipments of cement, steel and steel-making materials, overall cargo volumes on the St. Lawrence Seaway through to the end of July reached 16.7 million metric tons, 5 per cent ahead of 2020 totals.

Year-to-date iron ore shipments via the Seaway reached 3.5 million metric tons from March 22 through July, a 23 per cent increase over the same period in 2020. Canadian-flag ships are transporting iron ore from Quebec mines via the Seaway to supply domestic steel manufacturing in Canada. Minnesota Iron Range pellets are also being transported from the Port of Duluth-Superior and Silver Bay to Quebec ports and then loaded onto ocean carriers for export overseas.   

Meanwhile, cement shipments through the Seaway topped 1 million metric tons through July, up 25 per cent from last year, with cargo moving from manufacturing plants in Ontario and Quebec to cities throughout those provinces and across the border to Cleveland, Buffalo and Toledo.

General cargo shipments totaled 1.6 million metric tons — up 52% over the same period in 2020.  This major increase continues to be driven by steel imports from Europe and other countries heading to Canadian and U.S. cities throughout the region, to help support pent-up demand for manufactured goods and construction activity. 

The strong overall cargo performance comes despite a decline (-12 per cent) in Canadian and U.S. grain shipments. The 2020 carryover of grain has largely been shipped already and new Canadian Prairies and American mid-west harvests are expected to be smaller following hot, dry weather conditions. 

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