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War in Ukraine boosting Great Lakes ag shipments  

Agricultural shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway are up significantly for the first eight months of the year.

Deputy Administrator Craig Middlebrook tells Brownfield grain movement has increased nearly 30 percent and potash has grown by almost 270 percent through August.

“There’s a lot of demand on the market right now for fertilizers and potash materials so I think the seaway is helping to fill that need,” he says.

Canada is the world’s largest producer of potash which Middlebrook says mainly moves through Thunder Bay in Lake Superior.

U.S. Grains Council Vice President Cary Sifferath tells Brownfield the war in Ukraine has also led to increased buying from Western Europe.

“Spain and Ireland, North Africa as well, and just geographically or logistically those markets make that St. Lawrence Seaway a fairly good option to bring product in,” he explains.

Middlebrook tells Brownfield the number of empty vessels coming into the seaway for ag products could be another sign of Ukrainian supply disruptions.

“And the percentage of those vessels that are running in ballast empty coming in to pick up grain-related products and or potash is significantly higher than it has been for the last couple of years,” he says.

During harvest, the seaway moves a quarter of its grain exports for the calendar year.

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