It is reported that after a brutal winter that has depressed industry year to date tonnage totals, US flag Great Lakes freighters moved 11,365,550 tonne of cargo in July, their highest monthly total in 2 years.
The Lake Carriers Association, which represents 17 American companies that operate 57 US flag vessels on the Great Lakes reported that the industry’s July total also represented increases of 8.6% compared to June and 10.2% compared to a year ago.
Iron ore for steel production totaled 5.3 million tonne, an increase of nearly 15% compared to a year ago. Higher water levels did allow for some cargos to approach 70,000 tonne but even so, the vessels were still less than full. With 18 million cubic yards of sediment clogging ports and waterways, only dredging will fully restore the Great Lakes Navigation System.
Coal cargos totaled 2.1 million tonne, a slight increase compared to a year ago. Loadings on Lake Superior were virtually unchanged from a year ago. Shipments from Lake Erie ports soared 65% but loadings on Lake Michigan fell 50%.
Shipments of limestone reached their highest level in two years, 3.4 million tonne, an increase of more than 10% compared to a year ago.
Year to date, US flag cargo movement stands at 38.4 million tonne, a decrease of 10.8% compared to a year ago. Even though 55 US flag lakers were in service in July, an increase of 5 hulls compared to a year ago, the fleet has yet to overcome the thousands of hours lost to heavy ice formations in March and April. Iron ore cargos are down by 14%. Coal trails last year by 5.8%. Loadings of limestone are 8.7% off last year’s pace.
Decreases in cargo totals are not the only impact of the brutal winter. Repairing the damage that ice did to US flag lakers has cost LCA’s members more than USD 5.7 million.
Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 American companies that operate 57 US flag vessels on the Great Lakes that carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain. Collectively, these vessels can transport more than 115 million tonne of cargo per year.
Source – marinelog