U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) carried 9.8 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in October, an increase of 14.4% compared to a year ago. The total was also slightly ahead of October’s long-term average, but 1% below the 9.9 million tons the fleet moved in September.
U.S.-flag lakers moved 4.4 million tons of iron ore in October, 73.7% of all ore moving on the Lakes/Seaway that month. The 4.4 million tons represent a 15.8% increase over a year ago, and a 5.1% increase compared to October’s long-term average.
Coal shipments in U.S. hulls totaled 2.1 million tons in October, 75.2% of all coal moving on the Lakes that month. The 2.1 million tons represent an increase of 96,000 tons compared to a year ago, but are 7.4% below the month’s long-term average.
The 2.7 million tons of limestone hauled by U.S.-flag lakers in October represent 74.7% of the Lakes trade in that commodity that month. The 2.7 million tons are nearly 20% ahead of last year and basically on par with the month’s long-term average.
When making comparisons with a year ago, it must be remembered that U.S.-flag lakers lost approximately 2,000 hours waiting out the storms that accompanied Hurricane Sandy.
Through October the U.S.-flag float stands at 73.3 million tons, an increase of 1.2% compared to a year ago. Iron ore cargos are up by 93,000 tons. Coal loadings are up 4.9%. Shipments of limestone are now within 170,000 tons of last year’s total through October.
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.