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Port of Hamilton shipping increases big part of boost in Seaway volumes

Port of Hamilton shipping increases big part of boost in Seaway volumes

A big uptick in shipping activity at the Port of Hamilton has helped boost overall St. Lawrence Seaway traffic in August. As of August 31, the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA Ports) has seen over 6 million tonnes of cargo combined through the ports of Hamilton and Oshawa.

Hamilton’s total tonnages exceeded 1.2 million tonnes in August; 14% higher than the same month last year and an almost 30% increase year-to-date. As the surge of construction materials continues, steel imports, sand, stone and slag are all up significantly this season. As for agricultural commodities, raw sugar saw a significant increase, whereas grain is down slightly. HOPA’s ongoing Pier 10 export expansion project, which will increase berthage space and covered storage onsite, will soon enable raw sugar to be delivered directly to SucroCan’s sugar refining facility, taking thousands of trucks off the road in the process.

On the other side of Lake Ontario, Oshawa port saw its first grain shipment of the season. Sollio grain terminal accommodates agricultural storage and shipping for farmers across Durham. Though its year-to-date totals are down slightly, Oshawa’s August results are 7% higher than the same month last year, driven by stone, cement and steel.

HOPA Ports is currently exploring a Land Use Planning process for the Port of Oshawa. “We are partnering with municipal leaders, economic development, customers, and residents to explore opportunities that align with a local vision. We’ve found these partnerships are key to building sustainable and prosperous port cities,” said HOPA Ports, CEO Ian Hamilton.September 15, 2021 –North American demand for manufacturing and building materials led to dramatic spikes in shipments of iron ore, steel, cement, stone and other raw materials via the St. Lawrence Seaway and through Canadian Great Lakes ports, according to the latest results.

From March 22 to August 31, iron ore shipments hit 4.6 million tonnes, up 30% compared to the same period in 2020.  The significant rise is due to the recovery of the domestic steel sector, with Canadian-flag ships transporting iron ore from Quebec mines to Canadian plants. 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.

General cargo shipments via the Seaway also escalated by 60%, mainly due to steel imports from European countries to cities throughout Ontario and the U.S. Great Lakes states.

Year-to-date dry bulk shipments, including stone, cement, gypsum and other materials, were up 13% while grain shipments declined by 18% (including both Canadian and U.S. volumes).

As a result, overall cargo volumes on the St. Lawrence Seaway (from March 22 to August 31) hit 20.7 million tonnes; up 5.2% compared to the same time period last year. 

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