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.
Great Lakes Shipping Industry Urges Fast WRRDA Approval
The Great Lakes shipping industry is calling on Congress to quickly pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) approved by the House/Senate conference committee. The bill contains provisions that will significantly reduce the dredging backlog on the Great Lakes by increasing the amount of tax dollars the government spends on maintaining deep-draft ports and waterways and designating the Great Lakes a “navigation system” for the purposes of maintenance dredging.
Grain Surge Shows Lakes Untapped Potential
According to the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, Russia’s decision to suspend grain exports has ships throughout the world steering for the Great Lakes to load wheat and other staples. However, the Great Lakes Navigation System has unused capacity and can meet this unexpected demand. “Grain shipments through the Seaway in September increased 68 percent compared to a year ago,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest labor/management coalition ever to promote waterborne commerce via the Lakes/Seaway system. The surge in grain shipments is forecast to last until the St. Lawrence Seaway closes toward the end of December, and then could well resume in the spring.
Miller Named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year
A commitment to ending the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes has earned Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) an award as 2011 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year from the largest labor/management coalition representing workers and industries dependent on shipping on America’s Fourth Sea Coast. Rep. Miller, who represents Michigan’s 10th District in the House of Representatives, will formally receive the award from Great Lakes Maritime Task orce (“GLMTF”) in Washington on February 9.
Lakes Leaders Declare Dredging State of Emergency
The Administration’s proposal to slash the Great Lakes dredging budget by 32 percent in FY12 has the Great Lakes shipping industry declaring a State of Emergency. The Administration’s proposed appropriation for Lakes dredging next year will remove the smallest amount of sediment since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started keeping records more than half a century ago. As a result, only 11 of the 83 U.S ports on the Great Lakes will be dredged. “Never in my 51 years in this industry have I seen such a total abandonment of the Federal government’s responsibility to maintain the Great Lakes Navigation System,” said John D. Baker, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest labor/management coalition ever to promote shipping on America’s Fourth Sea Coast.
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.
Rep. Joyce Named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year
Ohio Congressman David Joyce (R) has been named a 2016 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by the largest labor/management coalition representing shipping on America’s Fourth Sea Coast. Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) annually presents the award to legislators who have promoted shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Rep. Joyce received his award at a ceremony in Washington on April 12. “Rep. Joyce’s deep appreciation for Great Lakes shipping stems from having two major ports in his district, Ashtabula and Conneaut,” said Thomas Curelli, President of GLMTF in 2016. “Rep.
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.
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.
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…
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…
Great Lakes Freeze Cost Economy $705m, 3,800 Jobs
The seemingly glacial 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, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) reported, promting the group to 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. According to LCA, the winter of 2013/2014 was so brutal that U.S.-flag cargo movement between December 1, 2013 and May 30, 2014, plummeted nearly 7 million tons compared the same period in 2012/2013.
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.
Great Lakes Dredging hinges on Federal Legislation
House and Senate Bills Offer Hope for Lakes Dredging Crisis. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have taken up legislation that could end the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes. H.R. 335 and S. 218 would require the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (“HMTF”) to spend what it takes in each year for dredging on dredging. Currently, the HMTF spends only one of every two tax dollars it collects for dredging on dredging. The surplus, now approaching $7 billion, is used to mask the size of the Federal deficit rather than maintain the nation’s ports and waterways.