Port of Cleveland cargo volumes continue to exceed 2014 levels

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November 11, 2015

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- With two months left in the shipping season, U.S. ports were busy moving grain and project cargo in October, according to a press release from the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership.

And despite the recent slowdown in the global steel market, cargo volumes moving through the Port of Cleveland continued to exceed 2014 numbers, said David Gutheil, vice president of Maritime & Logistics.

"Through October, we were running approximately 12 percent ahead of 2014 tonnage for international cargo. Much of this is due to new cargoes, such as steel pipe, handled by Federal Marine Terminals, and project cargoes, handled by both Federal Marine Terminals and C-Port Maritime.

"The Cleveland-Europe Express has far exceeded 2014 volumes. Although the strong dollar has weakened exports, our container volumes have increased by more than 400 percent compared with 2014, and overall tonnage is up by more than 300 percent compared with last year," he said in a written statement.

Spliethoff also recently announced a monthly service to India via Antwerp that will start in 2016, which will provide shippers with more options.

"In partnership with Spliethoff and C-Port Maritime, we are also working on plans to offer a weekly service between the Port of Cleveland and the Port of Antwerp beginning in 2016," Gutheil said.

Betty Sutton, administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said they anticipated the increase and they got it.

October traditionally signals the initial push to get cargo into and out of the Great Lakes Seaway System before the end of the navigation season. Increases were seen in the number of international ships arriving in the system loaded with project cargo for local manufacturers in Cleveland, Toledo, and Duluth.  Those same ships left the Seaway System with shipments of grain and project cargo from Milwaukee, Duluth and Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period April 2 to Oct. 31 were 27 million metric tons, down 9 percent over the same period in 2014. U.S. grain shipments were up by 32 percent in October over last year. The dry bulk category was up by 6 percent over 2014 with potash, stone, and gypsum in the positive column, at 32, 33, and 69 percent respectively. The general cargo category was down 10 percent. Iron ore and coal remained down in October by 12 and 37 percent respectively. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 10 percent.

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