MONTREAL - The St. Lawrence Seaway saw its highest cargo numbers since 2007 last year, propelled by a spike in grain shipments and global tariff wars that worked in Canada's favour.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. says traffic hit 40.9 million tonnes in 2018, a seven per cent year-over-year increase.
Grain made up close to one-third of all tonnage on the 60-year-old waterway, rising 20 per cent from 2017.
Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, says trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries worked to the advantage of Canadian exporters.
A Chinese tariff on U.S. soybeans and European counter-tariffs on U.S. corn spurred more shipments from Canada, which enjoyed a strong corn crop last year.
Burrows also says early snowfalls fuelled more road salt shipments, while infrastructure demand across the eastern part of the continent yielded higher volumes of other dry goods such as gravel and cement.