Nearly 38 Million Metric Tons Transit System in 2023

By GLSR Staff  |  Cargo & Commodities, Latest News, Marine Highway
Nearly 38 million metric tons (mmt) of cargo transited the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System in 2023. This resulted in an overall increase of more than 3.4 percent compared to the 2022 shipping season, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS).  

Overall, dry bulk was the top commodity of the season, with 12.3 million metric tons, a 5.2 percent increase over 2023. General cargo saw the only decline with 2.7 million metric tons, a nearly 12 percent decrease from the previous season.  After steep declines in 2022, grain shipments increased nearly 5 percent, coal cargo rose 14 percent and iron ore shipments went up 2.4 percent. Following the previous season’s 9.85 percent increase, liquid bulk shipments rose another 3.4 percent in 2023. 

The 2023 season marked the longest scheduled shipping season in history, with the Montreal-Lake Ontario section, including the U.S. locks, closing on January 5, 2024, and the Welland Canal closing two days later, on January 7. 

“The St. Lawrence Seaway demonstrated its resilience and reliability, as well as emphasizing its role as an essential component of the Green Shipping Corridor,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the SLSMC. “Compared to the previous year, the season ended with an increase in goods shipped through the waterway, which helped drive the North American economy.” 

Adam Tindall-Schlicht, administrator of GLS, said marine commerce on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway plays a key role by supporting 246,000 jobs and $36 billion (USD) in economic development across North America. “We expect to build on the success we saw this past year thanks to investments by the marine industry and the Biden-Harris Administration to advance our leadership in areas of resiliency, sustainability, technology and efficiency,” Tindall-Schlicht said. 

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