Freight News, Sea

US ports gear up for 2016 shipping season

[ June 20, 2016   //   ]

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened two weeks earlier this shipping season and US ports took advantage of the warm weather to move cargo for their customers.
“During the first nine weeks of the 2016 navigation season, ships arrived from 30 countries and delivered high value cargo that supported a wide range of manufacturing,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation said. “Our longshoremen worked diligently to offload cargo ships delivering transformers bound for electric power companies, tanks for beer brewing companies, windmills for power generation, dockside cranes for offloading ships, and kaolin for the manufacturing of paper.”
Reflecting the versatility and vitality of the Great Lakes-Seaway System, the Port of Duluth has already handled heavy-lift oil and gas refinery equipment for a project in Montana; a load of kaolin clay from Brazil to supply Minnesota paper mills; and a shipment of  203-foot wind turbine blades for a wind energy project in Iowa.
In May, the Port of Oswego received three shipments of aluminum totaling 9,079 metric tons that was delivered on the Alouette Spirit and Evans Spirit. The Evans Spirit is a shallow draft vessel with two cargo holds that have a pass-pass loading and discharge arrangement. This is the first time the Evans Spirit has been to the Port of Oswego with its new loading and discharge system.
Year -to-date, the port has a total of 19,507 metric tons of aluminum, which an increase of 86% over this time last year. In addition, the port received 8,802 metric tons of potash from Thunder Bay and 11,400 metric tons of corn from Hamilton.
May was a busy month at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor with 15 international ships Shipments included European beer fermentation tanks as well as organic corn and soybeans to be used for specialty animal feeds in US farms. Since 2014, the port has handled over 80 beer tanks for craft breweries around the Midwest with most of those going to Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Chicago.
Steel has arrived at a steady pace at the Port of Milwaukee for regional manufacturers, matching last year’s strong volumes.
The Port of Cleveland is currently lagging slightly behind 2015 tonnage numbers at the start of its season for traditional non-containerized steel business line. But David Gutheil, vice president maritime and logistics, is optimistic that our numbers will increase moving into the summer months and that the growth the port has experienced since 2009 will continue.
The Cleveland-Europe Express continues to attract new customers, as evidenced by Cleveland’s recent partnership announcement with Lubrizol for export container business to Europe.  “We also moved our first cargo to the country of Georgia, a 100-ton transformer from Siemens Energy in Mt. Vernon, OH,” Gutheil said.
To keep with its growing demand for cargo, the Port and our terminal operators continue to invest in infrastructure and equipment.  The Port commissioned two new Liebherr 280 mobile harbor cranes in May, which will significantly increase the speed and efficiency of Cleveland’s operation.  The port’s new 21,000 square foot warehouse was ready for use in late June, and now enables the port to provide transloading services and additional storage capacity.
“We are also pleased that Federal Marine Terminals has ordered a 2016 Kobelco Hydraulic Crawler Crane with 275-ton capacity,” he added. “ The new crane is expected to arrive at the Port in September and will enhance their ability to handle large and complex project cargoes.”
The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments for the period March 21 to May 31 were 6.5 million metric tons, down 4.15% over the same period in 2015.  The dry bulk category was up nearly 5% with salt, potash and gypsum in the positive column at 25, 35, and 108% respectively. Iron ore was down 9%; coal was down almost 1%. While steel products were down 23%, other general cargo was up 113%.