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Seaway shipping closes Sunday; Coast Guard to unload cargo from grounded ship

Order Prints ARTICLE OPTIONS As shipping on the St.

Lawrence Seaway comes to a close Sunday, 2017 will finish with overall improvements in shipping compared with last year. Overall shipping between March 20 and Nov.

30 (December figures are not yet available) saw a more than 8 percent increase compared with the same period last year, with 33.6 million metric tons of cargo shipped. That 8 percent increase has been maintained since the start of the season in March, when 3.7 million metric tons of cargo were shipped between March 20 and April 30.

Iron ore shipments were particularly strong, with 800,000 metric tons, up 70 percent over 2016 levels, being shipped from ports in Minnesota to Quebec, Canada. From there the ore is transferred to larger oceangoing vessels headed to Asia. Salt shipments also saw a 20 percent increase over 2016 levels with 432,000 tons of salt shipped in March and April.

Iron ore shipments held strong for the rest of the year. As of Nov.

30, 7.4 million metric tons of ore had been shipped, a 34 percent increase over 2016 iron ore shipping totals. While iron ore saw the most dramatic increase, dry bulk and general cargo were both up over last year.

Dry bulk increased 12 percent and general cargo up 28 percent. The Port of Duluth-Superior also reported a surge in project cargo, including everything from wind turbine sections from Indonesia to reactors for Colombia, both coming and going. As 2017 Seaway shipping ends, the U.S.

Coast Guard and U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. are still dealing with a ship grounding incident that occurred earlier this week.

Late Wednesday, a cargo ship ran aground in the middle of the St. Lawrence River between Fishers Landing and Thousand Island Park, about 1,000 feet from the channel. SLSDC reported that the 623-foot cargo ship M/V Pacific Huron ran aground in the Seaway late Wednesday while shipping soybean to Montreal.

There were no reported injuries to the crew and no reported leaks, pollution, or flooding on the vessel. SLSDC is continuing to manage traffic around the vessel through the navigation channel. U.S.

Coast Guard and SLSDC inspectors boarded the vessel to survey the situation.

The ship was still aground as of Friday afternoon, and the Coast Guard plans to remove the soybean cargo using tugboats and a barge to help get the ship moving again sometime in the next few days.

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