Great Lakes Ore Trade in High Gear in August

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

September 9, 2014

For the second month in a row, shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes reached their highest level in six years. The 7,242,492 tons loaded in August are the most since July 2008 when 7,318,961 tons moved from U.S. and Canadian ports. The August ore float also represents a slight increase over this July: 10,986 tons.

U.S. Great Lakes ports continued to drive the upturn. Loadings totaled 6,743,478 tons, an increase of almost 33 percent compared to a year ago. However, shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway decreased by nearly 32 percent, in large part because of the closure of Wabush Mines.

Year-to-date the Lakes ore trade stands at 33.7 million tons, a decrease of 5 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from U.S. ports are down by 4 percent, but loadings from Canadian ports in the Seaway have slipped by 13 percent.

The higher water levels that have somewhat helped offset the staggering delays in March and April when heavy ice formations covered the Lakes will start to fade away in the fall if the Lakes begin their seasonal decline as they normally do in autumn. As it is, August’s top load was 405 tons less than July’s largest ore cargo. The reduction in payloads will likely accelerate in the coming months.

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