News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grain shipments through the Great Lakes are up nearly 40% when compared to this time last year

Creative Commons

Grain exports through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system are up nearly 40% compared to this time last year. Shipping officials say the rise is due to a number of factors.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, wheat exports were predicted to spike, and they have been above the year-to-year average, but wheat has not spiked as aggressively as other grains.

Joe Cappel is the Vice President of Business Development at the Toldeo Port Authority. He says products like Michigan corn and soybeans are having positive returns right now.

"There's a lot of domestic demand for soybeans right now. More crushing plants are coming online in the US and they're making products like soy meal and soy oil. Even some of that's going into fuels," said Cappel.

Cappel added that the bulk of the increase for grains in the Great Lakes has been from corn and soybeans which also get turned into...

"Animal feed products made from distillers dried grain, which is the byproduct of ethanol production, in many cases, that's starting to move out of the Great Lakes on vessel. So that is also considered as a grain product and his bolstering our grain numbers," said Cappel.

According to the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership, potash exports, a fertilizer used on crops like soybeans, have jumped over 400% compared to this time last year.

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.