Port Authority Reports Numbers, Year Marked by Resilience

There are several silver linings to 2020's story of total tonnage. With Soo Locks closing on Friday at 11:59 p.m., the numbers speak for themselves as authorities say this past year was one marked by resilience.  

DULUTH, Minn. – There are several silver linings to 2020’s story of total tonnage. With Soo Locks closing on Friday at 11:59 p.m., the numbers speak for themselves as authorities say this past year was one marked by resilience.

“The season started, as I said, it started well, but when COVID came, diminishment of demands and that lead to a diminishment of production and that lead to shutdowns and closures and that affected the entire supply chain,” said Deb DeLuca, the executive director of Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

For instance, wind energy cargo set a record this year. It came out at a brisk pace and there were 525,000 freight tons of it.

It broke the record that was set just the year before.

Authorities added that during the last few months of the year, there was definitely a resurgence and with increased steel demand and COVID vaccinations underway, they can look forward to next year with very real hope.

“Shipping represents, it is a big economic engine for this region so it represents, it’s such an important draw for the region that there are all sorts of cascading effects,” said DeLuca. “However, it’s also a very resilient industry.”

However, while there were good things that happened, it was also a year marked with declines.

For instance, iron ore lagged behind while coal was nearly 50 percent last year’s pace.

The Soo Locks will reopen up in March as the Port AUthority hopes many more types of cargo will rebound.

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