Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Big potash shipments highlight early St. Lawrence Seaway season

With the 2024 marine shipping season on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway in full swing, the early statistics provided by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS) show that movements of potash (an agricultural fertilizer), iron and steel, and cement are up when compared to the same period (i.e. March to May) last year. Specifically:

  • Potash traffic was up 287,000 tonnes, for a total of approximately 335,000 tonnes (a year over year increase of approximately six times);
  • Cement traffic was up 77,000 tonnes, for a total of approximately 527,000 tonnes; and
  • Shipments of iron and steel were up by 195,000 tonnes year over year, for a total of approximately 580,000 tonnes.

Overall, as of the end of May, nearly 8.4 million tonnes of cargo transited the system, just above the figures for the same period in 2023.

A key member of the Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is HOPA Ports, which saw much of this traffic. Comprised of the Port of Hamilton, which is the largest port in Ontario and the western marine gateway to the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area, and the Port of Oshawa, which is Durham Region’s gateway to the world, HOPA Ports is a key North American conduit for the commodities that drive agriculture, steelmaking, auto manufacture, and construction.

“The 2024 navigation season is gaining momentum, and we expect volumes will be on par with 2023,” said Ian Hamilton, President and CEO of HOPA Ports. “We’re seeing positive totals for essential materials like steel and cement, which are vital for the construction industry. Development is progressing well at the ports of Hamilton and Oshawa, with the construction of Canada’s largest sugar refinery and the expansion of the flour mill in Hamilton already underway. Additionally, the ongoing construction of the Oshawa grain silo is set to further bolster our agri-food capabilities. These projects are key to growing our agri-food network and building a sustainable supply chain. We also launched our new digitization project using AI-enabled technology to improve performance of our transportation system.”

In addition to the aforementioned projects, HOPA Ports is also building on its reputation as one of the most significant North American channels for key commodities through special collaborations. Recently, they announced a new agreement with a U.S.–based organization to create a bi-national, low-emission, short sea trade corridor. This new partnership will forge connections between the Port of Oshawa and a new port in Somerset, New York by establishing a multimodal shipping terminal at the former location of New York’s last coal plant, which retired in 2020.

“The ambitious partnerships and enhancements being undertaken by HOPA Ports show how the marine shipping industry embraces its role as a vital link in the North American supply chain, and is actively taking steps to keep our economy strong and quality of life high,” noted Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “New partnerships, new services, and new technologies are why marine shipping will continue to be the green mode for moving what matters in the most efficient and cost-effective manner for many years to come.”

(Photo of Port of Hamilton)