Great Lakes/Seaway iron ore trade down 6.3 percent in April

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

(CLEVELAND) — Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 5.5 million tons in April, a decrease of 6.3 percent compared to a year ago. However, shipments topped the month’s five-year average by nearly 15 percent.

Shipments from U.S. Great Lakes ports totaled 5.1 million tons in April, a decrease of 4.5 percent. This is the first April since perhaps the 1850s that no iron ore was shipped from Escanaba, Mich. The mine that shipped through Escanaba has been permanently idled. This means all the iron ore shipped to U.S. steel mills in April had to transit the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The MacArthur Lock is undergoing maintenance so has yet to open for this season.

Loadings at Canadian terminals in the Seaway totaled 380,000 tons in April, a decrease of 18.2 percent.

Year to date, the iron ore trade stands at 9.4 million tons, a decrease of 13.7 percent compared to the same point in 2017. Year over year, loadings at U.S. ports total 8.2 million tons, a decrease of 15.6 percent. Shipments from Canadian ports in the St. Lawrence Seaway have increased slightly to 1.2 million tons.

The Lake Carriers’ Association represents 13 American companies that operate 45 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 sand, grain and other dry-bulk cargoes. Collectively, these vessels can transport more than 100 million tons of cargo per year. More information is available at

By Professional Mariner Staff