Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 24.6 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 2.8 percent compared to 2012. Some of the decrease can be attributed to the early onset of winter in December, which lead to a 17-percent decrease in loadings on Lake Superior.
Individual cargos were further reduced toward the end of the month when vessels voluntarily lightened their drafts to ease transits through an ice-clogged stretch of the St. Marys River that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. One 1,000-foot-long vessel experienced a 4,474-ton reduction in payload when its first and last cargos of December were compared.
For the year, coal loadings at Lake Superior terminals totaled 15 million tons, a decrease of 62,000 tons compared to 2012. Overseas coal exports from Superior Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, totaled 1,381,000 tons in 2013, a 38,000-ton increase compared to 2012.
Coal loadings out of Chicago, Illinois, totaled 2.9 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 11.4 percent or 370,000 tons compared to 2012.
Coal loadings at Lake Erie docks totaled 6.7 million tons, a decrease of 4 percent or 280,000 tons compared to 2012.
Source: Lake Carriers’ Association