U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (“lakers”) carried 9.2 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in November, a 6.6 percent increase over October’s total that was noticeably impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
However, compared to a year ago, the U.S.-flag float was down by almost 9 percent. November’s loadings were also 4 percent below the month’s 5-year average.
Iron ore cargos for the steel industry totaled 4.1 million tons in November, a decrease of 11.8 percent compared to a year ago. At 2.3 million tons, coal cargos registered a slight increase, but loadings of aggregate and fluxstone fell 14.4 percent to 2.2 million tons.
Through November U.S.-flag cargos stand at 81.6 million tons, a decrease of 4.1 percent compared to the same point in 2011, and 2 percent below the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe. Iron ore cargos are down by 4.4 percent compared to a year ago. Coal has slipped by more than 13 percent, but limestone cargos are still up by 3.7 percent, or 750,000 tons.
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.