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Port Milwaukee Seaway Cargo Volume Grows in 2018

Bulk Material Volume Down as Cargo Deliveries Pushed into 2019

For Release: February 21, 2019
For more information: Jeff Fleming, 414-286-8580, [email protected]

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 on Thursday. In his presentation, he shared that Seaway cargo – including raw material for manufacturers and agricultural products – was up 28% when compared to the previous year.

Overall cargo numbers were down 8%, 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.

Port Milwaukee Tonnage Summary
(in metric tons)

2017 2018
Total Public Docks 1,932,826 1,753,828
Total Private Docks 640,668 640,069
Total Port Tonnage and Private Dock Waterborne Tonnage 2,573,494 2,393,897

“Salt volume was down by 18% last year, but during the first seven weeks of 2019, ships have delivered salt weekly to Milwaukee,” Director 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.

Port Milwaukee is an economic entity of City government governed by the sevenmember Board of Harbor Commissioners, a panel appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett and confirmed by the Common Council. It administers operations on the 467 acres that make up the Port. It promotes shipping and commerce throughout the region by providing access to domestic and international ships, rail, and over-the-road transportation.