The Lake Carriers’ Association has issued the following news release, dated January 13:
Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Up Slightly in 2012
CLEVELAND – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 61.6 million tons in 2012, a slight improvement over 2011. The increase, 245,000 tons, is equal to about four cargos in a 1,000-foot-long vessel operating at current drafts which are significantly reduced by the dredging crisis and falling water levels. If a vessel that size was able to load to depths available when the Lakes were at near record highs in 1997, it could carry that much cargo in 3.4 trips.
Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 53.7 million tons, a decrease of 2.5 percent compared to 2011. Included in that total were 3.7 million tons transshipped to Québec City for loading into oceangoing vessels.
Loadings at Canadian ports in the St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 7.9 million tons, an increase of 25.3 percent.
The first loads of 2013 make clear the dredging crisis and record low water levels will challenge the industry this year. The biggest cargos were just slightly over 60,000 tons. The record for the iron ore trade through the Soo Locks is 72,300 tons, and that cargo dates from 1997, the last time water levels approached record highs.
Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes and 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 tons of cargo per year. More information is available at www.lcaships.com.