Ship shape: Windsor Port Authority numbers hold steady

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Windsor Star/Mary Caton

The Windsor Port Authority is holding its own for the 2015 shipping season in spite of a 45 per cent drop in cargo tonnage from foreign ships.

Overall, total tonnage handled in Windsor through the first nine months of the year is slightly ahead of 2014 totals.

By the end of September, the port handled 3,741,276 tonnes of cargo, up 0.61 per cent.

“We’re having quite a good year for stone,” said David Cree, the port’s president and CEO. “It’s been a strong season for construction aggregate and for salt.”

The port handled 1.3 million tonnes of aggregates this year, up almost nine per cent over 2014 loads. The port also saw overall gains in cargo tonnage on Canadian and U.S. ships and the truck ferry.

Tonnage on foreign ships, however, sank like a stone in 2015.

The port handled just 51,000 tonnes compared to almost 95,000 a year ago.

“The decline in foreign vessel tonnage is due to the drop in imported steel and grain exports, our two main cargoes shipped on foreign vessels,” Cree said.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation noted a 15 per cent decline in shipments of iron ore and a 40 per cent decrease in coal shipments. From April through the end of September, the corporation saw overall cargo shipments drop 12 per cent from the same period in 2014.

“This shipping season has been slower because depressed global iron ore and coal prices have stalled exports of those two commodities via the Seaway,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the Seaway Corporation.

The Seaway typically closes around Christmas.

“We’re expecting a really strong finish to the season,” Cree said.