U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (“lakers”) carried 93.8 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in 2011, an increase of 5.75 percent compared to 2010. The 2011 “float” was also just about on par with the fleet’s 5-year average.
Iron ore cargos for the steel industry increased 12.4 percent compared to a year ago and outperformed their 5-year average by 12.7 percent. Coal loadings slipped by 6 percent compared to 2010, and even more – 14 percent – compared to the trade’s 5-year average. Limestone cargos rebounded by a million tons, or 5 percent compared to 2010. However, shipments of aggregate and fluxstone still trailed their 5-year average by 8 percent. The cement, salt, and sand totals increased slightly compared to 2010, but cement missed its 5-year average by about 500,000 tons. Salt topped its 5-year average by about 200,000. Sand was one cargo short of its 5-year average. Grain was down by roughly one boatload compared to 2010 and missed its 5-year average by about two cargos.
Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 American companies that operate 56 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.... Collectively, these vessels can transport more than 115 million tons of cargo per year when high water offsets lack of adequate dredging. These cargos generate more than 103,000 jobs with an average wage of $47,000 in the United States. More information is available at www.lcaships.com.