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Lakes Limestone Trade Up 13.6% in May

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4.3 million tons in May, an increase of 13.6% compared to a year ago. May’s loadings also bettered the month’s five-year average by 17.8%.

Loadings from U.S. quarries totaled 3.4million tons, an increase of 8.2percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 890,000 tons, an increase of over 40%.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at nearly 6.7 million tons, an increase of 26.7% compared to a year ago. Loadings from Michigan and Ohio quarries total 5.5 million tons, an increase of 23.2%. Shipments from Ontario quarries total 1.18 million tons, an increase of 45.9%.

Also, after a slow start due to ice conditions, St. Lawrence Seaway cargo surged in May fueled by grain and iron ore exports and shipments of road salt. According to the latest numbers, cargo shipments from March 22 through the end of May totaled 8.3 million metric tons, bringing it in line with last year’s strong performance.

“If the May pace continues, we should be able to build on the 17% Seaway cargo growth accumulated over the past two years,” said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “U.S. Great Lakes ports are also reporting an acceleration in business. Two key growth areas are increased domestic and imported road salt and iron ore volumes due to domestic demand for steel production and exports of iron ore pellets from Minnesota to international locations like China.”

Iron ore shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway (from March 22 to May 31) totaled 1.5 million metric tons, up 8% compared to the same period last year. Dry bulk cargoes via the Seaway (2.2 million metric tons) are up 11%, buoyed by road salt shipments as cities across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region replenished their supplies after the long, difficult winter.