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Iron ore boom welcome news for Port of Duluth and Superior

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Duluth, MN-- It has been a busy start to the shipping season in the Twin Ports. Jayson Hron with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority said coal and iron ore leaving the ports has been booming.

"We're about six weeks into the shipping season, and we have already crossed 4.2 million short tons of total tonnage through the port of Duluth Superior, so that’s a good start," said Hron.

According to Hron, compared to this time last year, 20 more ships have arrived in port.

One of the big reasons for the busy start of the season is the increased demand for iron ore.

Kelsey Johnson, President of the Iron Mining Association, said there are a few reasons behind the increased demand for iron ore.

“There are three major areas that we typically send our iron ore products to when it comes to steel-making facilities. So the types of iron that we create are used primarily in construction, car making, and car manufacturing, and energy and those three areas right now are booming,” said Johnson.

In fact, according to the Seaway port Authority, iron ore leaving the Twin Ports is up nearly 21% from last year’s pace and 19% above the five-year average.

Johnson said while it is hard to predict future demand for iron ore, all signs now point to a positive outlook.

“All of those signs and those indicators are strong right now, which is a really positive sign, and I think it’s really beneficial for not only our industry on the steel-making side but also on the iron mining side as we provide that raw product,” said Johnson.

It is welcome news for the port, which saw its lowest tonnage last year since 1938.

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Peter Kvietkauskas

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