Great Lakes coal shipments dip for 2014

The following is the text of a news release from the Lake Carriers' Association:

(CLEVELAND) — A nearly 1 million-ton increase in coal shipments on the Great Lakes in December was not enough to enable the trade to outperform 2013. Shipments for the year totaled 24.5 million tons, a slight decrease compared to 2013. 

The December surge was possible because heavy ice did not form on the lakes until January of this year. Shipments totaled 3.1 million tons, an increase of 43 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Superior, Wis., rose by 39 percent. Loadings at Lake Erie terminals soared by more than 70 percent.

However, for the year, only the Ohio port range registered an increase. Shipments from Toledo, Sandusky, Ashtabula and Conneaut totaled 8.5 million tons, an increase of 26.3 percent. The 706,000 tons loaded in Conneaut were the first that dock has shipped since 2008.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 14.1 million tons, a decrease of 6.2 percent. Loadings out of Chicago fell 34 percent.

The Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes and carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain. Collectively, these vessels can transport more than 115 million tons of cargo per year. Those cargos support more than 103,000 jobs with an average wage of $47,000. More information is available at

By Professional Mariner Staff