Great Lakes Limestone Trade Ramps Up
Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.8 million tons in May, an increase of 16.6 percent compared to a year ago, and the highest monthly total recorded since June 2012, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) reported. In terms of tons, shipments from U.S. quarries registered the largest gain: 326,000 tons.
LCA noted that the limestone trade was not hampered by the aftereffects of a brutal winter, unlike a year ago. The Lakes were basically ice-free, whereas in 2014, ice formations lingered well into May and a number of vessels were idled for a period to repair ice damage suffered in March and April.
Year-to-date shipments of limestone total 5.9 million tons, an increase of 37.7 percent compared to the same point in 2014. However, LCA said that increase could have been greater. A number of vessels that primarily serve the short-haul stone trade delayed their sailings this April rather than become beset in ice. The Coast Guard Authorization Act passed by the House of Representatives includes a provision that authorizes the Commandant to design and build a new icebreaker for its Great Lakes fleet. The Senate has yet to take up its Coast Guard bill.