The Port of Duluth is traditionally the largest export location for northern grown durum and a portion of the U.S. spring wheat crop, but that’s changing. North Dakota Wheat Commission Policy and Marketing Director Jim Peterson says the change is due largely to internal U.S. freight dynamics and the loss of backhauls to and from Duluth. Workers at the Port of Duluth recognize the decline, especially in the last year. Duluth Seaway Port Authority Director of Trade and Development Kate Ferguson says it’s the first-time total tonnage of grain shipments have been this low since the 1940s. “The COVID situation affected us, transportation prices are high and the drought also hurt us,” says Ferguson. “The U.S. dollar, high commodity prices and all of the above affected tonnage.” Ferguson is hopeful global market conditions will help the situation.
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