Grain Shipments At Duluth-Superior Port’s Largest Terminal Have Dipped

Slowdown Could Be Due To Market, Costs Of Shipping

Grain elevators at the Duluth-Superior port. Photo: Randen Pederson (CC-BY-NC-SA).

The amount of grain moving in and out of Duluth-Superior is down for the port’s largest terminal.

CHS Facility Manager Dick Carlson said they’re on par to ship out 28 million bushels of grain this year. He said it’s been much the same the last three years. Overall, however, he said that shipments are down: In 2010, they loaded 60 million bushels.

“I think it’s all in the market and the cost of the shipping,” said Carlson. “Our facilities in Myrtle Grove out of the gulf are still going strong.”

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Carlson said they experienced some challenges with rail service this year. Railroads have been juggling customer demands as rail shipments of oil have reached more than 1 million barrels a day. Carlson said that rail shipments took three or four days to arrive from the Dakotas this year, whereas it took half that time in previous years.

“This year we started to take some trucks, just for the small little elevators that couldn’t get any rail service themselves,” said Carlson.

It’s the first time in five years that trucks are hauling grain to the terminal. Around 15 trucks a day are carrying about 850 bushels to the Superior terminal.

Carlson said that most harvests for things like wheat are already done, but that they’re still loading corn and soybeans coming in from the Dakotas and Minnesota. He expects shipments to wrap up in mid-December.