U.S-Flag cargo movement on the Great Lakes
in July fell by 1.5 million tons compared to the same period last year, the largest decrease in recent memory. The season-long string of monthly decreases now amounts to a five-million ton shortfall compared to the same point in 1998.
Iron ore cargoes loaded into U.S. bottoms in July totaled 5.9 million tons, a decrease of 18.2 percent. However, the season-to-date total for iron ore is directly tied to the continued unfair trade in steel
. Since the resumption of navigation in early March, U.S.-Flag ore cargoes stand at 27,357,063 net tons, a decrease of 10.5 percent.
Coal shipments in U.S.-Flag lakers declined slightly from a year ago. For the season, U.S.-Flag coal loadings are down by 95,000 tons. The U.S-Flag stone trade almost pulled even with a year ago; the July fall-off is perhaps just five boatloads, but for the season, loadings are down by nearly two million tons.
July began with 60 of the 69 U.S.-Flag lakers in service, a decrease of five hulls compared to a year ago. During August, one of the idled vessels returned to service to resume grain deliveries, but reduced demand for iron ore required four other vessels to enter short-term lay-up.