Iron Ore Demand up, Grain Demand Down says Duluth Seaway Port Authority

By KBJR News 1

January 28, 2013 Updated Jan 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - During 2012, iron ore shipments were slightly higher than the 2011 figures, coming in around 17,500,000 tons, which officials say shows growing consumer confidence in the steel industry.

Grain numbers, however, were down significantly, with total tonnage finishing at just over 1 M, as opposed to 2011's 1,500,000 tons shipped.

According to Port Authority Public Relations Director Adele Yorde, multiple factors came together throughout the season to affect the demand for grain.

"...international freight rates, trade patters changing with containerized cargo around the world, [to] drought and wildfires and weather patterns changing," said Yorde, citing the list of reasons for this shift.

Yorde added, however, that these changes are cyclical, and that the port is optimistic that the margins will improve in 2013.

In all, total tonnage weighed in at just shy of 37 million tons for the 2012 season.