Port Milwaukee Seaway cargo volume increases in 2018

Port Milwaukee posted significant gains in cargo movement through the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2018, an indication that international trade disputes have not, as yet, had a major impact on the amount of overseas cargo moving through the port.

Port Director Adam Schlicht presented the 2018 cargo report to the Board of Harbor Commissioners last week. In his presentation, he shared that Seaway cargo—including raw material for manufacturers and agricultural products—was up 28 percent when compared to the previous year.

Overall cargo numbers were down 8 percent, a decline driven largely by reduced quantities of salt arriving at Jones Island. A summer labor dispute at a major Canadian salt mine interrupted the stockpiling that typically occurs at Port Milwaukee.

“Salt volume was down by 18 percent last year, but during the first seven weeks of 2019, ships have delivered salt weekly to Milwaukee,” Schlicht said. “Port Milwaukee has remained accessible to our shipping and rail customers through the coldest parts of winter, and we are optimistic that 2019 volumes will rebound, finishing ahead of last year.”

Among the commodities contributing to the port’s strong cargo numbers were cement, steel used in manufacturing and Wisconsin-grown grain. The port also saw increased use of its liquid cargo pier.

Andrea Lee