Duluth-Superior sees volumes climb despite low water
Port of Duluth-Superior said it finished the 2007-2008 shipping season with its fourth consecutive year of growth.
Tonnage for this year’s season, which ended on Jan. 17, was 47.86 million net tons, up 1.7 percent from 47.06 million tons the prior year. Over the past four years port tonnage has increased 24 percent.
The port noted that the increase came despite near-record-low water levels across the Great Lakes during much of the season.
The port said grain shipments, primarily spring wheat and wheat durum, surged 42 percent to nearly 3.2 million tons, benefiting from a weak U.S. dollar, poor grain harvests overseas and a strong domestic harvest.
Vessel calls at the port increased 44 to 1,231 vessels, with 1,073 lakers trading to U.S. or Canadian ports, and 158 from overseas.
The port noted that low water levels on the Great Lakes required 22 additional U.S. and/or Canadian ships to move almost the same tonnage as the last shipping season. It said an average laker, which typically (but not exclusively) transports iron ore or coal, carried 300 fewer tons per voyage than in the previous shipping season.