Low water levels, inadequate dredging trim loads on Great Lakes
Lake Carriers Association
Published on Business North on May 17, 2007
Cleveland—Shipments of dry-bulk cargo in U.S.- flag vessels on the Great Lakes fell 28 percent in March compared to a year ago. Falling water levels and lack of adequate dredging were leading factors in the decrease.
Vessels loading iron ore and coal at Lake Superior ports were most impacted by low water levels.
A vessel with a rated capacity of more than 71,000 tons of iron ore was able to take on only 59,380 tons when it loaded on March 30. The first coal cargo loaded on Lake Superior – 55,106 tons – was likewise well below the vessel’s designed capacity.
The 84 percent decrease in limestone cargos is not a result of low water levels or inadequate dredging, but rather that most quarries had little stone in stockpile.
For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 6 million tons, a decrease of 22 percent compared to the same point in 2006, but roughly on par with the 5-year average for the January-March timeframe.
Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 63 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone, and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation. Collectively, these vessels transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset lack of adequate dredging. More information is available at www.lcaship.com. Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.
Contact: Glen G. Nekvasil – Vice President – Corporate Communications (216-861-0592).