OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) The early shipping season has been a rough one for the Port of Oswego which is feeling the impact of US tariffs on Canadian aluminum.
The Port’s Executive Director says shipments of aluminum to Oswego are down 50-percent.
The aluminum is brought over the border by ship where it is stored at the Port of Oswego.
When it’s needed the aluminum is trucked just up the road to the Novelis plant which uses it for cans and pickup trucks.
Normally this time of year the Port of Oswego would have trucks backed up to the dock with three dock doors open and six workers busy loading them with aluminum.
This year it’s one door, just two people and not everyday.
Port of Oswego Executive Director William Scriber says, “We don’t call them in and it affects them, affects the local economy. Bottom line is all these guys have to buy groceries, pay rent, mortgage payments.”
He says it’s hurting the Port’s bottom line too because it relies heavily on aluminum.
In a regular season three full ships would have already been in to deliver aluminum to the Port, but this year it has only been one and that was only half loaded.
“This is having a tremendous effect on an American port, American labor force, and not only my labor force but the trucking companies that supply the aluminum to Novelis, which are local in this area,” Scriber tells NewsChannel 9.
John Revell has been hauling aluminum from the Port to Novelis for 16 years.
He’s worried about a near empty yard when they’re usually starting to fill it up for inventory that will be used in the winter when the shipping is done until next Spring.
“We move inventory from here to the plant and if there’s no inventory which has to arrive this summer we don’t know what to expect,” Revell tells NewsChannel 9.
There are no aluminum ships scheduled for the Port of Oswego in May and as of right now none in June either.
Scriber adds, “This year we did not increase rates because we wanted to try and blunt the tariffs but apparently even though we haven’t raised rates, and lowered rates it hasn’t had the effect we hoped.” >
The Port is working on getting approved for a Free Trade Zone which would reduce duties on goods, like aluminum.
While it wouldn’t help this season it could be in place later this year when companies are putting out contracts for next season.