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(volume in thousands of metric tons)
|Vessel transit total
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.