US-flag cargo on Great Lakes doubles in March

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

(CLEVELAND) — U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 1,747,111 tons of cargo in March, more than double their total of a year ago. The March float was also on pace with the month’s five-year average.

Iron ore cargoes totaled 1,362,768 tons, again more than double the volume of a year ago. Coal cargoes totaled 133,155 tons, basically a repeat of a year ago. Limestone cargoes dipped slightly to 68,275 tons, but shipments of cement more than tripled the volume of a year ago, rising to 182,913 tons.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag carriage stands at 4,068,869 tons, an increase of 8 percent compared to the same point in 2015. Iron ore cargoes are up 16 percent, but coal cargoes have dipped 56 percent. Limestone cargoes have increased 26 percent and cement shipments are up 71 percent.

The Lake Carriers’ Association represents 15 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 100 million tons of cargo per year. More information is available at

By Professional Mariner Staff