U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 87.2 million tons of cargo in 2015, a decrease of 3.3 percent compared to 2014, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) said. The end-year tally is the lowest since 2009 when the U.S.-flag float totaled 66.5 million tons.
According to the LCA, the total volumes or iron ore, coal and sand shipments fell in 2015, while limestone, cement and grain cargos saw overall gains. Sand shipments, meanwhile, stayed about even with 2014’s figures. Sand shipments dipped 15 percent to 320,000 tons.
Iron ore cargos tumbled 10.4 percent to 40.9 million tons, again, the lowest total since 2009. Coal cargos totaled 17.65 million tons, a decrease of less than one percent, or 118,000 tons, which is the equivalent of roughly two cargos in a 1,000-foot-long laker.
Limestone cargos increased nearly 8 percent to 23.1 million tons, the highest total since 2008. U.S.-flag cement cargos rose 6.3 percent to 3.45 million tons. Grain cargos topped 350,000 tons, an increase of 37 percent.
Salt cargos were almost a carbon copy of 2014 – 1.4 million tons.