U.S.-flag Great Lakes carriersÆ iron ore prospects remain dismal
U.S.-flag carriers on the Great Lakes continue to suffer from shortages of iron ore volumes, a staple cargo for these operators.
Great Lakes carriers experienced a drop of 4 million tons in iron ore volumes in September, a decrease of 23.2 percent compared to a year ago and an overall drop of 20.8 percent compared to the month’s five-year average.
The total volume of iron ore transported on the Great Lakes by the U.S.-flag carriers so far in 2002 measured 29.1 million tons, down 12 percent from the year earlier period, and a decrease of about 20 percent over the past five years.
“The anemic ore totals confirm that many of America’s integrated steelmakers are still struggling to regain market share lost to unfair trade,” said the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) in a statement.
The only positive cargo volumes experienced by the Lake carriers during September occurred in Superior, Wis., and South Chicago where they loaded 2.2 million net tons of western coal, an increase of 12 percent compared to the same time last year.
For the year so far, low-sulfur coal volumes shipped on U.S.-flag Lake ships stands at 11.9 million tons, an increase of 11 percent over the same time in 2002.
“However, coal’s strong performance could not mask another plummet in iron ore cargoes,” LCA said.