US-flag cargoes on Great Lakes drop 4.5 percent in 2016

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

(CLEVELAND) — U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 83.3 million tons of cargo in 2016, a decrease of 4.5 percent compared to 2015. The 2016 float was also 7.7 percent below the fleet’s five-year average.

Iron ore cargoes totaled 44.1 million tons, an increase of 7.8 percent. However, all other commodities decreased. Coal was down 26.6 percent. Limestone (mostly aggregate and fluxstone) dipped by 8.4 percent. Cement decreased by 6 percent.

Salt cargoes were off by nearly 11 percent. Shipments of sand fell by 17.1 percent and grain decreased by almost 30 percent.

The Lake Carriers’ Association represents 13 American companies that operate 49 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