Table 1 2006 St. Lawrence Seaway Commodity and Transit Results

Table 1
2006 St. Lawrence Seaway Commodity and Transit Results

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(volume in thousands of metric tons)

Commodities 2006 2005 Change
Tons/transits Percent
Grain 11,538 9,773 1,765 18
Government aid 11 0 11 100
Iron ore 11,010 11,010 0 0
Coal 3,714 3,693 21 1
Other bulk 16,327 15,548 779 5
General cargo 4,545 3,259 1,286 39
Containers 19 17 2 12
Cargo total 47,164 43,301 3,863 9
Vessel transit total 4,613 4,361 252 6

SOURCE: 2006 St. Lawrence Seaway Traffic Report, produced by the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. and Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

  • Significant increases in the St. Lawrence Seaway's traditional cargoes of grain and steel, during the 2006 navigation season resulted in 47.2 million metric tons of cargo moving through the binational waterway, its highest overall tonnage level since 1999. The increase of 3.9 million metric tons represented a 9% increase compared to the 2005 season.
  • Lower prices for imported steel products; drought conditions in Australia's agricultural region; and increased highway, rail, and border crossing congestion in North America were all factors in the Seaway posting its second busiest shipping year in terms of vessel transits in 20 years. Vessel transits in 2006 were 4,612, the second highest amount since 1984.
  • Grain exports totaled 11.5 million metric tons (18% increase), serving both traditional markets and those impacted by a lack of sufficient Australian grain exports. General cargoes were also up significantly (4.5 million metric tons, up 39%), led by imports of manufactured iron and steel and steel slabs.
  • In addition to increases in the Seaway's "bread-and-butter" commodities of grain and steel, the binational waterway also enjoyed increases in several new and diversified cargoes, including imports of wind turbine components for several U.S. Great Lakes communities and mining-petroleum machinery destined for Canada's tar oil sands megaproject in Alberta.
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway also established a new record for the longest shipping season in the waterway's 48th year. With the waterway's opening on March 23 and the passage of the Kathryn Spirit on December 30, the Seaway recorded a 283-day season, exceeding by 2 days the previous record set in 2004.