US-flag cargo on Great Lakes down 14 percent in April

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

(CLEVELAND) — U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 6.1 million tons of cargo in April, a decrease of 14 percent compared to a year ago. The April float also trailed the month’s five-year average by more than 5 percent.

Iron ore cargoes for steel production totaled 3.9 million tons, a decrease of 12.6 percent. Some decrease was inevitable. The winter of 2017-2018 was more typical than 2016-2017 and vessels experienced many more ice-related delays this April. In fact, the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards continued to break ice in Whitefish Bay and the St. Marys River that connects Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes into May.

Coal shipments fell 36.7 percent to 743,000 tons. Limestone cargoes dipped 6.5 percent to 1.1 million tons.

Year to date, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 9.4 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to the same point in 2017. Iron ore cargoes total 6.75 million tons, a decrease of 16 percent. Coal loadings total 837,000 tons, a decrease of 43 percent. Limestone cargoes have actually increased by roughly four loads in river-class vessels to 1.27 million tons.

By Professional Mariner Staff