Seaway Grain Shipments Down Slightly Through June




Other commodities were higher, but total grain shipments through the Great Lakes Seaway are down slightly for the current shipping season.


Through the March 22 -June 30 period, total cargo shipped via the seaway was up 8.37% or almost 13 million tonnes from the same period a year earlier, thanks mainly to heavy demand for construction materials, including cement and gypsum. However, year-to-date Canadian grain volumes for the same period were down 3% compared to 2020.


“Canadian grain shipments have softened slightly but this performance is still above the five-year average,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. “The big question mark will be how the new harvests fare this summer given, the current hot, dry (Prairie) conditions.”


According to release from the Ottawa-based Chamber of Marine Commerce, the record Prairie grain stock from 2020 has been substantially moved to market due to strong rail movement to Canadian ports last fall and winter.


On the other hand, early season loadings at the Port of Thunder Bay were strong, with the current year-to-date grain tally the third highest of the past 25 seasons. And while corn and soybean shipments decreased slightly, Port Windsor experienced another 25% jump in canola shipments in June, compared to June 2020.


In total, the global demand for Ontario-grown grain continues, with more than 700,000 metric tonnes exported already this year, the release said.


Grain shipments were a bright spot for the seaway system in 2020, with April 1 to November 30 shipments up 23% from 2019 to almost 11 million tonnes. Total seaway shipments of all cargoes last year amounted to 32.3 million tonnes, down 6.6% amid pandemic-related difficulties.


Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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