St. Lawrence SeawayÆs 2010 grain exports surge
The U.S. Transportation Department on Friday said the St. Lawrence Seaway, which links the Great Lakes region with the Atlantic, experienced a 'sharp rise' in grain exports in 2010.
About 1.9 million metric tons of U.S. grain have moved through the waterway so far this year, a nearly 23 percent increase through October over 2009 levels. Overall, seaway traffic is up 17 percent in 2010 compared to 2009.
'Vessel traffic this fall is robust in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, as ships are busy carrying almost 2 million tons of U.S. wheat, corn and soybeans to export markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa,' said Collister Johnson Jr., administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., in a statement.
'We are encouraged by what we are seeing with heightened grain shipments through the lakes and the seaway, and have every reason to believe that the remainder of the season will be just as strong,' he added.
The increase is partly attributed to Russia's ban on grain exports that began in August due to drought conditions. Russia has announced keeping the ban in place through the end of this year. As a result, markets in Europe and North Africa have looked to North American grain farmers to meet their grain demand. Furthermore, the United States has produced bumper grain crops this season that have been harvested earlier than in past years.
In particular, the ports of Duluth, Minn.; Milwaukee; and Toledo, Ohio, have realized sizable increases in vessel traffic and tonnage. 'The grain surge is likely to remain at the forefront of the strong postings for Great Lakes ports for the final months of the Seaway's shipping season,' the DOT said.