Port of Green Bay: 2023 tonnage remains steady while number of ship visits increase

(Green Bay, Wis.) – The 2023 shipping season has quietly come to a close at the Port of Green Bay with 1,782,887 tons of materials handled. That amount is about 1% above last season’s tonnage of 1,765,834. While tonnage levels were similar over the past two seasons, the number of ships that visited the Port of Green Bay increased.A total of 170 vessels moved through the Port of Green Bay this shipping season compared to 159 in 2022, a 7% increase. The increase is attributable to two factors:

  • Water levels that have declined to average or slightly below average, resulting in less tonnage per voyage, and
  • The diversified cargo entering and exiting the Port has been carried in non-traditional bulk vessels, for example, petroleum products and liquid asphalt are carried in smaller, tanker vessels while forest products, aluminum components, slag and project cargo are also carried in smaller, specialized vessels.

“It’s been a solid year at the Port of Green Bay,” stated Dean Haen, Port of Green Bay Director. “While we’d love to see tonnage that surpasses the pre-2022 totals of 2,000,000 tons, we’re satisfied with how this season ended.” Overall imports for most cargo types during 2023 remained relatively even year-over-year with an expected decrease in coal and a more than moderate increase in the amount of salt imported.

Limestone was once again the top import of the season, followed by cement, salt and petroleum.

  • Limestone imports totaled 616,046 tons during 2023. 
  • Cement imports reached 344,471 tons, approximately 1% over last year’s tonnage.
  • Salt imports rose from 231,009 tons in 2022 to 325,475 tons in 2023, an increase of about 41%.
  • Petroleum imports totaled 269,334 tons during 2023.

Additional imports included coal, wood pulp, slag and project cargo. Project cargo refers to the transportation of large, valuable, complex or heavy-duty equipment. Exports included petroleum products and aluminum modules.

“Because the Port is a type of economic barometer for our region, end of season tonnage totals that remain at or above the previous year are good to see,” added Haen. “Great Lakes shipping and the diversification of cargo over time are interesting to observe, as they offer insights into larger trends across various industries. And, I have to add that, waterborne transportation continues to be the lowest cost means of moving goods.”

Haen added, “All-in-all, we are fortunate to have such an engaged business community in Northeast Wisconsin. Both our public and private sector partners collaborate to provide a high quality of life for those living and working here, and we’re proud to help support those efforts.”

Those interested in recent and historical tonnage information for the Port of Green Bay can visit https://www.portofgreenbay.com/cargo-quantities-shipped.