Weather Harms Great Lakes Cargo Totals
Friday, January 24, 2014
Photo by Rod Burdick

Early and harsh winter costs U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleets opportunity to end 2013 on the plus side

Significant weather and ice delays and cancelled cargos limited U.S.-flag cargo movement on the Great Lakes to just 7.1 million tons in December and as a result, the fleet’s year-end total slipped to 89.2 million tons, a decrease of 0.4 percent compared to 2012.

Iron ore cargos carried in U.S.-flag lakers totaled 43.9 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 3 percent compared to 2012. Those cargos represented 75.2 percent of all the iron ore moved on the system last year. Through November, U.S.-flag ore cargos had been just slightly behind 2012’s pace, but the brutal weather in December slashed shipments to just 4 million tons, a decrease of 21 percent compared to December 2012.

Coal cargos totaled 18.2 million tons in 2013, an increase of 3.7 percent, and 74 percent of all Lakes coal last year. The total would have been higher, but several coal cargos were cancelled in December.

The limestone trade in U.S. bottoms also registered a slight increase over 2012. Shipments totaled 22.1 million tons, an increase of 1.5 percent, and the highest volume since 2008. The 22.1 million tons also represent 80 percent of the Lakes stone trade.

Shipments of cement, salt, sand and grain were largely in line with 2012.

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