Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes reached their highest level so far this year in November. The trade totaled 4.6 million net tons, an increase of 27 percent over the preceding month.
The upturn reflects higher operating rates at the nation’s steel mills that, in turn, have required the sailing of some U.S.-Flag lakers that had been idled. The most recent reactivation was on November 25 when the American Republic returned to service. The vessel was designed specifically to shuttle iron ore on the twisting Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.
Comparisons with a year ago and the month’s five-year average illustrate the depth of this recession. November loadings were six percent off the pace of a year ago, and nearly 14 percent behind the month’s five-year average.
For the year, the Great Lakes iron ore trade stands at 27.5 million tons, a decrease of 50.1 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease is only slightly less when compared to the trade’s five-year average for the January-November timeframe – 49.3 percent.