Great Lakes Coal Trade Down More Than 12 Percent in July

Lake Carriers Association
Monday, August 13, 2012

Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 2.7 million tons in July, a slight increase – 63,000 tons – compared to June, but a drop of 12.4 percent compared to a year ago.  Loadings fell even more when compared to the month’s 5-year average: 30.5 percent.


Only one port range – Lake Michigan – registered an increase over last year: 37.7%.  Loadings at Lake Superior docks fell 13.3 percent and shipments from Lake Erie terminals were down more than 28 percent. Overseas shipments continued in July.  Coal shipped to Québec City for reloading into oceangoing vessels totaled 116,759 tons. Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 11.6 million tons, a decrease of 8.7 percent compared to a year ago.  However, loadings are more than 28 percent behind their 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.


Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes and 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.  Those cargos support more than 103,000 jobs with an average wage of $47,000.  More information is available at

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