LCA: Best May for U.S.-flag lakers in seven years

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

(CLEVELAND) — U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 10.8 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in May, their highest total for that month since 2008. The surge is at least partially attributable to the fact that no ice delays were experienced this May.

Comparisons with May 2014 illustrate how ice slowed shipping a year ago. Iron ore cargoes were up more than 17 percent, but that increase somewhat reflects that in May 2014 three 1,000-foot-long lakers were collectively out of service to repair ice damage for 65 days. The nearly 14 percent increase in limestone cargoes is in part because the lower-horsepower lakers in the short-haul stone trade did not have to contend with ice this May.

Year to date, U.S.-flag cargoes stand at 21.3 million tons, an increase of 28.5 percent over the glacial conditions that prevailed during much of the first five months of 2014. Compared to the five-year average for the January-May time frame, shipments in U.S. bottoms are actually down 3 percent, and that decrease reflects the ice-related delays experienced between Jan. 1 and late April of this year.

The Lake Carriers’ Association 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