U.S.-Flag Lakers Move An Extra 470,000 Tons of Cargo in January

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February 11, 2011

CLEVELAND—U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (“lakers”) carried 3.4 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in January, an increase of 46 percent over a year ago. The January float was also 18 percent better than the month’s 5-year average.

One reason the fleet performed so strongly was demand for iron ore necessitated extending the season through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan by three days. The January 18 closing allowed U.S.-flag lakers to carry an extra 380,000 tons of iron ore. The three extra days of navigation also allowed 90,000 tons of coal to move on the Lakes.

Not all of the additional tons moved during the extension. Some of the cargos were loaded on January 13 and 14. These cargos would not have moved had the locks closed on January 15. With winter in full swing, the vessels might have been delayed by weather and/or ice and unable to reach the locks by midnight January 15. The extension provided enough leeway that the cargos could be loaded.

(c) Lake Carriers’ Association

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