U.S.-flag cargo movement on the Great Lakes stands at 27 million tons through the end of June, a decrease of 17.4 percent compared to the same point in 2013. The brutal winter of 2013/2014 is the overriding factor behind the decrease. Vessels lost significant time due to the heavy ice formations, and then some vessels had to be removed from service to repair damage suffered in the ice.
Shipments of iron ore for the steel industry total 14 million tons at the end of the second quarter, a decrease of 21.4 percent, or 3,816,000 tons. The 3.8 million ton shortfall is more than a season’s work for a 1,000-foot-long vessel.
Coal cargos stand at 5.1 million tons through June, a decrease of 9.4 percent, or 532,000 tons.
Limestone loadings total 6.2 million tons at the end of the first half of 2014, a decrease of 16.6 percent, or 1,231,000 tons. Winter’s grip on the stone trade was so tight that only one limestone cargo had moved by mid-April.