Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Since January 1st, 2013 up to December of this year, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority has shipped an overall figure of 33 million short tons of cargo.
That's a million short tons over where the Duluth Superior Port was sitting last year.
According to the port's Public Relations Manager Adele Yorde, they're hopeful December's numbers will add roughly 3 to 4 million additional short tons of cargo, meeting or exceeding 2012's total of 36.7 million short tons.
"We should be right on pace to be at that 36 to 37 million mark again, this year," said a cautiously optimistic Yorde Friday.
A big boost in grain shipments was welcome by the Duluth Superior Port in 2013. The Port has moved 1,145,000 short tons up to December this year, as opposed to 970,000 short tons in 2012.
"2012 was the lowest on record for grain out of the Twin Ports since the seaway opened in '59," added Yorde.
Iron Ore shipments in 2013 are down slightly from last year, measuring in at 14,500,000 short tons.
But there's an effort to boost the US manufacturing sector, headed by lawmakers like US Senator Amy Klobuchar, which Yorde says could increase the demand for raw materials, like Iron Ore.
"So we look 80 miles north of here, [where] those pellets come down to the port in railroad cars," said Yorde. "We get to move them to the lower lakes, and export."
Yorde says an uptick in the domestic economy in 2014 would keep those numbers growing.
Seaway officials are also watching for the drop in temperatures in coming days.
While the Great Lakes shipping channels are scheduled to close on January 15th, ice could close the channels earlier than expected.