U.S.-Flag Cargo Movement on Lakes Slips Slightly in July

Friday, August 23, 2013

U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) carried 10.3 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in July, a slight increase over June, but a decrease of 2.2% compared to the corresponding period last year. The July float was also down 6.6% from the month’s long-term average.

U.S.-flag lakers moved 4.6 million tons of iron ore in July, 76.7% of all ore moving on the Lakes/Seaway that month. The 4.6 million tons represent a 6.7% increase compared to a year ago, but a drop of 5.7% compared to the month’s long-term average.

Coal shipments in U.S. hulls totaled 2 million tons in July, 70.6% of all coal moving on the Lakes that month. The 2 million tons represent an increase of 13.5% compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 14.4% compared to the month’s long-term average.

The 3.1 million tons of limestone hauled by U.S.-flag lakers in July represent 87% of the Lakes trade in that commodity that month. However, the 3.1 million tons represent a decrease of 20% compared to a year ago. The decrease is much more modest – 3.3% –compared to the month’s long-term average.

Through July, the U.S.-flag float stands at 43.1 million tons, a decrease of 4.1% compared to a year ago. Iron ore cargos are down by 3.7%. Coal loadings are virtually unchanged from a year ago. Shipments of limestone are 7.8% off last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S.-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 tons of cargo per year.


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