Commercial traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway is down on 2018 so far this season.
The 2019 St Lawrence Seaway season looks unlikely to repeat the performance achieved in 2018, when a 7% increase in cargo volume saw 40.9M/t moved on the system, the best performance since 2007.
There was plenty of optimism heading into the new season this year. Economic growth was forecast to slow down in 2019, but much of the uncertainty over the new United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that replaces NAFTA had largely been resolved. In May the Seaway received a major boost when it was announced that the US was dropping tariffs on Canadian aluminum.
Figures released by the St Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, however, show total traffic is down 4.66% to 16.5M/t to the end of July, with falls in every category except dry bulk, which rose 14.15% to 4.8M/t.
General cargo, which includes break bulk, project cargo and the handful of containers that are moved on the Seaway each year, suffered the biggest decline, falling 35% to just under 1M/t.