First U.S.-Flag "Lakers" Back In Service; 52 More To Follow

Press Release
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
When the cement carrier ST. MARYS CHALLENGER gets underway in April, it will mark the vessel's 107th year of service. (Photo: Rod Burdick)

The 2013 Great Lakes shipping season began on March 2 with the sailing of the tug/barge unit Prentiss Brown/St. Mary’s Conquest. The vessel, operated by Port City Marine Services, departed its winter lay-up berth in Milwaukee and sailed for Charlevoix, Michigan, where it loaded 9,200 tons of cement for delivery to Chicago.

Next to get underway was the tug/barge unit Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder. The vessel, one of 10 operated by The Interlake Steamship Company, loaded about 13,000 tons of iron ore at Cleveland Bulk Terminal in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 4 for delivery to the steel mill at the end of the deep-draft section of the Cuyahoga River.

Over the next several weeks, 52 more U.S.-flag lakers will return to service and spend 10-plus months hauling the raw materials that are the foundation of the industrial heartland, primarily iron ore, limestone and coal. During the course of the season more than 1,600 American mariners will crew these vessels.

The U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet is unique in the world in that virtually every vessel is a self-unloader, which means the ship or barge can discharge cargo without any assistance from shoreside personnel or equipment. The largest vessels can unload 70,000 tons of cargo in 12 hours or less. Prior to self-unloading, it would have taken days to empty a vessel of a cargo that size.

The self-unloading vessel was invented and perfected on the Great Lakes and is one reason waterborne commerce on the Inland Seas is so efficient.  A recent study by the U.S. Maritime Administration states that “on average, transportation cost savings from $10 to more than $20 per ton are associated with the use of lakers compared to the next most competitive transportation mode.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that Great Lakes shipping annually saves its customers $3.6 billion compared to the next least costly mode of transportation.

By law - the Jones Act - U.S.-flag lakers are built in the United States, crewed by American citizens and owned by American corporations. This holds the vessels to the world’s highest safety and operational standards and mandates that crews pass demanding U.S. Coast Guard exams.

The environment benefits when the Lakes fleet returns to service. Vessels use less fuel to move a ton of cargo than trains or trucks and produce significantly fewer emissions in the process. A number of lakers have been repowered in recent years with state-of-the-art engines and generators that have further reduced the industry’s carbon footprint.

Iron ore for steel production is the primary cargo moved by U.S.-flag lakers. In 2012, the fleet moved more than 45 million tons of taconite pellets. Limestone for the construction industry and steelmaking approached 22 million tons. Coal for power generation totaled more than 17 million tons. Other cargos included cement, salt, sand and grain and collectively totaled 5 million tons.

Those totals were impacted by the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes. At the end of 2012, the largest vessels were leaving more than 10,000 tons of cargo behind because of inadequate dredging and falling water levels. If the full length of the Federal navigation channel in the Cuyahoga River was dredged to its project depth, 23 feet, the Pathfinder would have been able to carry 3,200 more tons. The vessel is scheduled to shuttle ore within Cleveland Harbor for four weeks, so will forfeit approximately 77,000 tons.

There is no reason the Great Lakes Navigation System cannot be maintained to project depth. The cargos that move on the Lakes (and East, Gulf and West Coasts) are taxed and the receipts are deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (“HMTF”). Nationwide the tax generates about $1.6 billion per year, but the HMTF typically only spends about $750 million. The surplus, about $7 billion, is used to mask the size of the Federal deficit. As a result, more than 18 million cubic yards of sediment now clog Great Lakes ports and waterways.

Legislation that would require the HMTF to spend what it takes in for dredging on dredging has been introduced in both the House and Senate. H.R. 335 was introduced on January 22 and already has 94 co-sponsors, 17 from Great Lakes districts. S. 218 was introduced on February 4, and has 31 co-sponsors, including 12 of the 16 Great Lakes Senators. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it would cost about $200 million to restore the Great Lakes Navigation System, just a fraction of the surplus amassed in the HMTF.

The next vessels to enter service will be two cement carriers on March 7.  The iron ore trade out of Escanaba, Michigan, is expected to resume on March 14.

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, limestone 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 generate and sustain more than 103,000 jobs in the United States and have an economic impact of more than $20 billion.

www.lcaships.com
 

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Container Ships

Marad Celebrates Deployment of Maritime Fuel Cell Project

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today celebrated the launch of field trials for the first prototype hydrogen fuel cell

DP World Profit Up 22%

Global marine terminal operator DP World today announced strong financial results from its global portfolio of marine terminals for the six months to 30 June 2015,

MN 100: ContainerTug B.V.

The Company: ContainerTug B.V. is a specialized Dutch naval design engineering and construction company with a strong focus on developing workboats and the evaluation

News

Syncrude Uncertain about Plant Fire Affecting Production

The operator of Canada's largest synthetic crude project said on Saturday it is investigating the causes of an early morning fire at an upgrading plant. Firefighters extinguished the blaze,

Hurricane Ignacio Gains Strength but Expected to Bypass Hawaii

Hurricane Ignacio intensified as it blew across the Pacific on a route likely to bypass Hawaii on Saturday, said the Central Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service.

United Heavy Lift Gears up for the Asian Boom

All set to expand its footprint in the South Asian market significantly, Hamburg based, United Heavy Lift (UHL) appointed strategically placed Lexicon Overseas Pvt Ltd.

Barges

MN 100: Bouchard Transportation

The Company: Bouchard Transportation’s history dates back to its incorporation in 1918 by founder, Capt. Fred Bouchard, the youngest tugboat captain in the Port of New York.

ASL Shipyard Secures S$140mln Build Contracts

ASL Shipyard Pte Ltd. a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASL Marine Holdings Ltd., has secured new shipbuilding contracts worth approximately S$140 million for the construction

The Maritime Person of the Year

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s annual salute to ‘the person of the year’ this year spotlights McAllister Towing and Transportation Co. and its leadership team.

Great Lakes

Great Lakes Shipyard to Build Guatemalan Harbor Tug

U.S. shipbuilding and repair yard Great Lakes Shipyard informs it has signed a contract to build another of its HandySize Class, 3,400 HP twin-screw tugboat for

US Ocean Economy Sees Large Growth -NOAA

In 2012, U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy grew much faster than overall GDP   The U.S. ocean economy outpaced the domestic economy between 2011 and 2012, with

Search Suspended for Overboard Freighter Crewman

The search for a man who reportedly jumped overboard from a freighter near Big Sable Point in Lake Michigan early Sunday morning has been suspended, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.5117 sec (2 req/sec)