LCA: Steel imports take toll again on Great Lakes ore

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

(CLEVELAND) — Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 6.6 million tons in July, a decrease of 9 percent compared to a year ago. The decline reflects that steel imports continue to command more than 30 percent of the U.S. market. It takes approximately 1.5 tons of iron ore (and roughly 400 pounds of fluxstone) to make a ton of steel in a blast furnace, so every ton of unfairly traded steel takes cargo off the lakes.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.7 million tons, a decrease of 14 percent compared to a year ago. Only one port, Cleveland, Ohio, saw its loadings outpace last July. Large U.S.-flag lakers deliver iron ore to Cleveland Bulk Terminal on the shores of Lake Erie, where it is then reloaded into vessels small enough to transit the twisting Cuyahoga River and reach the steel mill at the end of the federal navigation channel.

Loadings at Canadian ports in the seaway totaled 835,000, an increase of 52 percent, but in terms of tons, the trade rose 286,000 tons.

Through July, the lakes/seaway ore trade stands at 27.7 million tons, an increase of 4.5 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 5.2 percent compared to the long-term average.

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