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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Great Lakes Shipping Worries about Tough Spring

February 28, 2015

Image: Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA)

Image: Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA)

 Ice conditions have been causing concern for Great Lakes shipping industry. The satellite images show that the Great Lakes once again almost entirely covered in ice.

 
Duluth News Tribune reports that the ice is causing worry in the Great Lakes shipping industry about the prospects of another difficult spring.
 
According to Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers' Association, it has been another brutal winter and if it keeps going it will be a challenging resumption to navigation when the vessels get going again in March.
 
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist opined that ice on the lake at that time was 1 to 2 feet thick and likely included windblown rubble fields of ice and pressure ridges — resulting from ice plates crashing against each other — that reached up to 10 feet tall and penetrated equally as deep below water.
 
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 and has prompted Lake Carriers’ Association 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 2013/2014 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. At least two steelmakers had to curtail production and some power plants were extremely low on coal. 
 
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