Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor witnesses 66% growth in project cargo shipments

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor witnesses 66% growth in project cargo shipments

Sept 23, 2016: Shipments of project cargo, which can be a prime indicator of economic activity in a region, are up 66 percent at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor so far this year.

Large, heavy, high-value cargo, such as machinery and components, often requires assembly or disassembly. “During August, our stevedores discharged numerous pieces of large machinery and specialized equipment for Midwest manufacturers,” said Rick Heimann, Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor director. “Cargo included European generators, cranes and tanks. The port also saw an increase in grain shipments during August as 22,000 tonnes were shipped to our trading partners in Quebec.” Overall cargo at Burns Harbor, which also includes bulk cargo, has been roughly on pace with 2015, one of the busiest years in the port’s history. The Saint Lawrence Seaway saw a slight overall uptick in traffic. “As we approach the midyear point of the 2016 navigation season we continue to see a diversified mix of cargoes moving throughout the Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Seaway System,” said Betty Sutton, administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. “Cargo diversification is an important factor in keeping our Great Lakes ports busy, and that was clearly reflected in last month’s Seaway traffic.” US ports exported general cargo, containerized cargo, wheat, soybeans and corn in August. Grain shipments are up by 17 percent so far this year at the deep-water port on Lake Michigan, in Portage and Burns Harbor. Through August 31, an estimated 17.2 million tonnes have passed through Great Lakes Ports, a 7.5 percent decrease over the same period in 2015. Steel slabs and other general cargo are up by about 70 percent. Iron ore and coal, two crucial ingredients in steelmaking, are down 18 percent and 8 percent so far this year, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Corp. “We’ve seen a real rally in August. St Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments were up 8 percent compared to the same month last year,” said Stephen Brooks, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “US grain exports now match last season’s strong performance. Iron ore shipments have improved as Canadian and US mines have boosted production and we continue to see steady demand for aluminum, cement and asphalt.”

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