LCA Endorses Government Report
U.S.-flag shipping on the Great Lakes provides efficient, safe, and environmentally sound transportation services to industries that are the backbone of the American economy finds a report released on February 12 by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. The U.S.-flag Lakes fleet is “competitive with other modes of freight transportation in the movement of dry-bulk commodities and appears to be adequately capitalized to meet current market demands. The MARAD report notes that “studies have demonstrated that, on average, transportation cost savings from $10 to more than $20 per ton are associated with the use of lakers compared to the next most competitive transportation mode (rail or truck).” This is crucially important…
Great Lakes Shipyards Heating up for Winter
As temperatures drop, the pace is heating up at Great Lakes shipyards where winter is typically the busiest season, and this year is no exception. U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel operators will spend more than $80 million to maintain and modernize their vessels for the 2017 shipping season, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA). “Once again Lake Carriers’ Association members are demonstrating their commitment to Great Lakes shipping,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of the trade association representing the major U.S.-flag carriers.
Soo Lock Modernization Presents $1.7 Bln Benefit -Study
A new study commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department lists modernization of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., as one of the 40 American transportation and water “megaprojects” that could bring as much as $1.3 trillion in national economic benefits. The system resiliency that a second Poe-sized lock will provide has an estimated net economic benefit of as much as $1.7 billion, according to the study. The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Lake Superior is home to five iron ore loading ports, as well as the largest coal and grain shipping ports. Without the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, those cargos could not reach steelmakers, utilities and overseas markets. As the study notes, more than 60 percent of the current U.S.
WRDA Passage to End Lakes Dredging Crisis
The end of the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes moved a giant step closer today when a key House committee approved legislation requiring the federal government to spend all the tax dollars it collects for dredging on dredging rather than use nearly half to balance the budget - at least on paper. Section 2007 of H.R. 5892, the Water Resources Development Act of 2010, mandates that all tax revenues annually deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) be used to dredge the nation’s deep-draft ports and waterways. Because the government does not spend all the tax dollars it raises for dredging, the HMTF currently has a surplus of more than $5b.
Weakley Named Next President of Lake Carriers' Association
James H.I Weakley has been selected to be the next President of Lake Carriers' Association. He will succeed George J. Ryan when the latter retires after 20 years of service on January 15, 2003. Weakley will begin serving as President-Elect of LCA on October 1 to ensure an orderly succession. "I am delighted to turn the helm over to Jim Weakley," said Ryan. "I have worked with him for more than 10 years and consider Jim ideally suited to represent U.S.-Flag shipping on the Great Lakes. He possesses both managerial and operational skills that, combined with his knowledge of the U.S. "As both a member of the Coast Guard and then private industry, I have held George Ryan in the highest regard," said Weakley. Weakley's maritime experience is extensive. A 1984 graduate of the U.S.
Great Lakes Ore Trade Off to a Slow Start
Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled just 800,000 tons in March, the lowest level for the month since 2010 and nearly 60 percent below the month’s five-year average, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) reported. Heavy ice and lack of icebreaking resources on both sides of the border were the culprits, according to the LCA. “The winter of 2014/2015 was again brutal,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “The ice formations were so formidable that a number of LCA’s members chose to delay getting underway rather than risk a repeat of last spring when ice caused more than $6 million in damage to the vessels. Compounding the problem is that both U.S. and Canadian icebreakers have experienced a number of mechanical issues. The Mackinaw, the U.S.
Lakes Legislators Help Boost Corps Funding
Great Lakes legislators played a key role in yesterday’s vote in the House of Representatives to increase the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ national budget by nearly $58 million. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), along with Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), authored the amendment to the House’s FY15 Energy & Water Appropriations bill and Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) and Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) took the floor to support the measure. The additional funds will…
Lakes Water Levels Return, but Not Full Loads
The rise in Great Lakes water levels has yet to translate into full loads for the U.S.-flag freighters moving iron ore, coal, limestone, cement and other cargos. Vessels continue to routinely leave port with less than a full load on board. The largest iron ore cargo moved by a U.S.-flag laker through the Soo Locks in June totaled 69,576 tons. The record iron ore cargo for the “Head-of-the-Lakes Trade” is 72,300 tons and was carried in 1997, a period of near record-high water levels. The deepest draft ever recorded for a transit of the Poe Lock is 29’ 03” in 1986.
April Ice Hinders Great Lakes Ore Trade
Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 4.3 million tons in April, nearly 15 percent below the month’s long-term average, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) reported. The heavy ice blanketing the Lakes not only slowed the vessels that were in service, it delayed many vessels from sailing. Several U.S.-flag vessel operators held back ships rather than sit in ice because the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards do not have enough icebreakers to adequately cover the system. “April was again proof positive that we need more icebreaking resources,” said James H.I. Weakley, president of LCA, the trade association representing U.S.-flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes.
New Great Lakes Icebreaker Nearing Reality
Plans for a second heavy icebreaker for service on the Great Lakes have taken another step toward reality with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) including $2 million for initial survey and design work for a vessel that is at least as capable as the current icebreaker Mackinaw in the committee report on the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 had previously authorized a new heavy icebreaker for Lakes service. Senator Baldwin’s…
Foreign Steel Cuts Lakers’ Ore Float in June
With foreign steel now commanding nearly 32 percent of the U.S. market, it was inevitable that iron ore cargos hauled in U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) would take a hit, and that hit came in June, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) reported. Cargos totaled 4.4 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to May and 10 percent compared to a year ago. “Although not unexpected, the slowdown in iron ore is troubling,” said LCA president James H.I. Weakley. “On average it takes about 1.5 tons of iron ore to make a ton of steel, so foreign steel that is dumped into the U.S. market takes ore and other cargos off the Lakes. It is imperative that the government enforce our trade laws…
House Addresses Great Lakes Dredging Crisis
The end of the Great Lakes dredging crisis took a step closer to reality last week when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4348 and included a provision that could lead to substantially increased Great Lakes dredging funding. The amendment directs that all funding collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on dredging each year. “Passage of H.R. 4348 with the Boustany amendment represents further progress in requiring that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund monies all be spent on dredging each year…
Great Lakes Shippers Want 'Float Down' to End
U.S. and Canadian vessel operators on the Great Lakes are urging the public to not participate in the Port Huron Float Down scheduled for August 16, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) and Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) said in a joint press release. The annual event, which fills the seven-mile stretch of the St. Clair River from Port Huron to Marysville with thousands of people in all manner of craft, is unsanctioned and unsafe, needlessly jeopardizing participants and hindering commercial navigation at the height of the shipping season, according to the associations.
Malfunction Underscores Need for Second Poe-Sized Lock
A malfunction of the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, , on September 24 has illustrated the pressing need for Congress to appropriate the funds to build another lock capable of handling the largest U.S.-Flag Great Lakes freighters. Although the vessel delays totaled only about three hours, had the problem been more severe, cargo movement on the Lakes would have slowed to a trickle. U.S.-Flag Lakers whose length and/or beam restrict them to the Poe Lock represent 70 percent of U.S.-Flag carrying capacity. “The Poe Lock that connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes is the single point of failure that can cripple shipping,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “In 2007, the Poe Lock handled nearly 65 million tons of cargo.
USCG, Lake Carriers' Association Ink Training Agreement
A new agreement sets forth terms for maritime industry rescue training between U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit and Lake Carriers' Association (LCA) enrolled vessels. The memorandum of agreement was signed Tuesday at the 9th Coast Guard District headquarters in Cleveland by Rear Adm. Joanna M. Nunan, commander, 9th Coast Guard District, and James H.I. Weakley, president of the LCA. "The experience gained by both Coast Guard and Lake Carriers' crews will greatly enhance both organizations capabilities," Nunan said.
New Great Lakes Icebreaker
Legislation authorizing construction of a new icebreaker for the Great Lakes is being applauded by the Great Lakes shipping community as key to the industry’s future. H.R. 1747, the Great Lakes Icebreaker Replacement Act of 2009, was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 26 by Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN). “The Great Lakes are in desperate need of another modern icebreaker,” said Don Cree, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) and President of the Toledo (Ohio) Port Council. “Most of the U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaking assets are nearing the end of their productive lives. As a result, freighters have been experiencing significant delays and even suffering extensive damage.
Higgins, Great Lakes Legislator of the Year
Congressman Brian M. Higgins (D-NY) has been honored for his support of Great Lakes shipping by the largest coalition representing the industry. The Congressman was named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF). Rep. Higgins will formally receive the award at GLMTF’s 14th Annual Briefing for the Great Lakes Delegation in Washington on April 2, 2009. “As a native of Buffalo, Congressman Higgins has long understood that Great Lakes shipping is an asset to be treasured,” said Don Cree, President of GLMTF and President of the Toledo (Ohio) Port Council.
US-flag Great Lakes Fleet Will Get $65 Mln Winter Tune-up
U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel operators will spend $65 million maintaining and modernizing their vessels at Great Lakes shipyards this winter. When complete, the fleet will be ready to meet the needs of commerce come the spring break-out in March. “Winter is the one opportunity our members have to renew and upgrade their vessels,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, the trade association representing the major U.S.-flag carriers. The major focus this winter will be on normal maintenance such as overhauls of engines…
No Stimulus Funds for New Soo Lock
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) has expressed its disappointment that the second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan did not receive any Federal stimulus dollars. GLMTF stated that Congress has strongly supported the project, authorizing the lock at full Federal expense in 2007, and approving tens of millions of dollars in Federal construction funding, including $17 million recently in the FY09 Appropriations Bill. “It is incomprehensible that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not include the new Soo lock in projects that will be funded from its share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),” said Donald Cree, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest coalition promoting waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes.
GLMTF Says USACE Shorted Region on Stimulus
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force said the Great Lakes came up short when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided how to divvy up the $4.6b Congress gave it for job creation and infrastructure improvements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Corps allocated only two percent of its stimulus dollars to the Great Lakes, leaving navigation and environmental projects in America’s heartland high and dry. The Task Force said the eight Great Lakes states received $94m for Lakes projects out of the $4.6b Congress gave the Corps, despite the fact cargo movement can top 200 million tons a year and supports hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining jobs.
Lock Closure Causes Big Losses on the Great Lakes
The 20-day closure of the MacArthur Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan cost U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel operators nearly $250,000, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA). A misalignment of the miter gates forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the lock on July 29, and it remained out of service until August 17. During those 20 days, U.S.-flag lakers were delayed 77 times for a total of 6.5 days. The cargoes delayed topped 1.8 million tons. “The lengthy failure of the MacArthur Lock adds more urgency to our efforts to build a second Poe-sized lock…
LCA Calls for New Icebreaker on the Great Lakes
The ice that brought shipping on the Great Lakes to a virtual standstill last winter cost the economy more than $700 million and nearly 4,000 jobs and has prompted Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) to call for construction of a second heavy icebreaker to partner with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Mackinaw to keep the shipping lanes open in the harshest of conditions. The winter of 2013-14 was so brutal that U.S.-flag cargo movement between December 1, 2013 and May 30, 2014 to plummet nearly 7 million tons compared the same period in 2012-13, LCA reported.
Great Lakes: US Cargoes Surge on Milder Weather
With the vast ice fields of December 2013 a distant but still troubling memory, U.S.-flag cargo movement on the Great Lakes this past December rebounded significantly. Shipments totaled 9.6 million tons, an increase of nearly 35 percent compared to a year ago. Every commodity – iron ore, coal, limestone, cement, salt, sand and grain, registered increases ranging from 10 to 209 percent. “The increases recorded this past December dramatically illustrate just how badly the early onset of ice in December 2013 slowed Great Lakes shipping,” said James H.I.