Canadian grain shipments through the St. Lawrence seaway are down 25 percent, but the Port of Hamilton is experiencing an acceleration in grain exports, especially corn and soybeans. “As we head into summer, we’ve already seen more than 800,000 metric tonnes of grain exports through the Port of Hamilton, 42% higher than the same time last year,” said Ian Hamilton, President & CEO, HOPA Ports. “Ontario grain makes an important contribution to food security globally. The Port of Hamilton is the largest export gateway for Ontario-grown grain, and we’re pleased to see crops moving from field, to vessel, to ports around the world as part of a resilient and efficient supply chain.” Western grain shipments are down due to reduced crop yields last fall.
Meanwhile, overall cargo tonnage shipments (from March 22 to May 31) via the St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 7.6 million metric tons, down 10.8% compared to 2021 but gaining ground in comparison to April, following a slow start to the season due to ice conditions in Lake Superior.
Highlights include a 400% jump in Prairie potash exports, a key ingredient used in fertilizer, and a 20% increase in domestic road salt shipments to replenish municipal reserves.
The shipping season is also being buoyed by a 32% rise in refined products such as jet fuel, diesel and gasoline, being transported through the St. Lawrence Seaway on domestic tankers to serve improved demand for air travel and ground transportation in Ontario and Quebec. However, demand for gas and diesel at the pumps has not recovered completely to pre-COVID levels due to high prices and continuing work-from home trends. As a result, finished petroleum products are also being shipped to Quebec for export overseas.
Although Canadian grain shipments through the Seaway are down 25% this season, that is due to lower Prairie volumes following last year’s weather-beaten harvest. Southern Ontario ports are reporting strong shipments of local corn and soya to European markets.