• ITVI.USA
    15,411.130
    -4.180
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.740
    -0.021
    -0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,375.870
    -11.650
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,411.130
    -4.180
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.740
    -0.021
    -0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,375.870
    -11.650
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
American ShipperShipping

Great Lakes trade slowed by another harsh winter

Heavy ice and lack of icebreaking resources from both the U.S. and Canada are to blame for the decline, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association.

   Cargo movement in U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters in March fell to its lowest level for the month since 2009, while shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes were the lowest since 2010, according to figures from the Lake Carriers’ Association.
   At 800,000 and 825,000 tons, respectively, Both U.S.-flag freighter volumes and overall iron ore tonnage were also roughly 60 percent below their 5-year average for March. Iron ore loadings on the U.S. side totaled 535,000 tons, a decrease of 66 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.
   Lake Carriers’ Association attributed the low volumes primarily to heavy ice and lack of icebreaking resources from both the United States and Canada. Harsh winter conditions and a number of casualties to U.S. and Canadian icebreaking vessels slowed the resumption of navigation.
   On April 1, only 26 U.S.-flag lakers were in service, compared to nearly 50 in some years.
   Harsh winter weather has stymied the new Great Lakes shipping season for the second year in a row, prompting the Lake Carriers’ Association to call on the U.S. and Canadian governments to provide additional icebreaking resources. The association, which represents 16 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes, requested the U.S. build another heavy icebreaker to pair with the USCGC Mackinaw and assign another 140-foot-long icebreaking tug to the Lakes, allowing the tugs already stationed there to be sent to the Baltimore Coast Guard station for service life extension.
    James Weakley, president of Lake Carriers’ Association, said in a statement, “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. Mackinaw, the U.S. Coast Guard’s most powerful icebreaker, is operating at less than full power. Other icebreakers have suffered casualties that have taken them out of service for various periods of time.”
   Weakley called on Canada to review its allocation of Great Lakes icebreaking resources as well. Canada previously had seven icebreakers stationed on the Lakes, compared to just two permanently assigned there now.
   Weakley also noted that with foreign steel imports down significantly, American steel mills need raw materials to move as efficiently as possible in order to remain competitive. “Right now American steel mills need every competitive advantage they can get. A slow start to resupplying the mills after the winter closure is a worry the industry could do without.”

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