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Port of Duluth-Superior gains second consecutive Pacesetter Award

May 6, 2020

DULUTH, Minn. — The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation announced today the recipients of its Pacesetter Award for international cargo tonnage increases during the 2019 shipping season. That pentad included the Port of Duluth-Superior, which earned Pacesetter honors for the second consecutive year.

Four of Duluth-Superior’s six cargo categories posted season-over-season tonnage increases in 2019. General cargo, comprised of project cargoes, breakbulk and heavy-lift industrial pieces, led the way with a tenfold tonnage increase. Wind energy cargo arrivals paced the surge, with Duluth Cargo Connect welcoming a single-season record 306,000 freight tons of wind energy components to the Clure Public Marine Terminal.

Grain, the port’s No. 1 export, also moved briskly in 2019. Paced by wheat shipments, grain tonnage posted a 20 percent increase over 2018 and a 12 percent improvement on the five-season average.

In total, the Port of Duluth-Superior registered a 16 percent season-over-season increase in international tonnage shipped. Eighty-five overseas vessels visited during the 2019 shipping season, the most since 2010.

“On behalf of everyone in the Port of Duluth-Superior, we’re pleased to accept this award, and especially excited about earning it in consecutive years, which reflects a sustained level of achievement, as the criterion is a season-over-season increase,” said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “It’s a collaborative effort that makes the Port of Duluth-Superior a thriving world port and we appreciate all of the numerous partners who play a role in that effort. Especially during this time of great disruption and uncertainty, I want to draw attention to the important role of the working men and women throughout our port. These essential workers continue to ensure supply chain continuity every day. They are truly the Port of Duluth-Superior’s backbone.”

The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation established the Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award in 1992 to recognize achievements of U.S. ports whose efforts resulted in increasing international tonnage shipped through the Seaway, excluding Canada, in comparison to the previous shipping season. Since the award’s inception, no port has earned more Pacesetter Awards than the Port of Duluth-Superior (17).

In addition to the Port of Duluth-Superior, the ports hoisting Pacesetter honors for international tonnage gains during the 2019 season included the Illinois International Port District, the Port of Green Bay (Wisconsin), the Port of Monroe (Michigan) and the Port of Oswego (New York).

“Congratulations to the five Great Lakes ports being recognized as Pacesetter Award recipients for their achievements during the 2019 Seaway navigation season,” said Craig Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “The dedicated teams of professionals at our ports work hard to move increasing amounts of cargo safely and efficiently.”


Approximately 800 vessels and 35 million short tons of cargo move through the Port of Duluth-Superior each year, making it the Great Lakes’ largest tonnage port and one of the nation’s top 20. The Port supports 8,000 jobs and contributes $1.4 billion in business revenue to the regional economy. Learn more at