Lakes limestone trade tops 4 million tons again in July

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

(CLEVELAND) — For the second month in a row, shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes topped 4 million tons in July. This is the first time loadings have topped the 4-million-ton mark for more than one month in a shipping season since 2008.

Loadings at U.S. quarries totaled 3.5 million tons, a virtual repeat of a year ago. Shipments from Canadian quarries — 560,000 tons — also were a near carbon copy of a year ago.

Year-to-date the lakes limestone trade stands at 14 million tons, an increase of 16 percent compared to a year ago. That increase in part reflects just how severely stone shipments were impacted by the near glacial ice that covered the lakes into May of 2014. Ice also slowed the resumption of the stone trade this spring; several boats in the stone trade did not sail until late April, but the shipping lanes were ice-free by May.

LCA represents 16 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. More information is available at

By Professional Mariner Staff