US-flag Great Lakes Shipping Down in March
Cargo moved by U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters in March decreased 13 percent compared to a year ago, the Lake Carriers’ Association reported. However, the March float of 1.8 million tons topped the month’s five-year average by more than 15 percent.
Iron ore cargos for steel production dominated the month. Cargos totaled 1.4 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent. That no iron ore moved from Escanaba, Mich., is a factor in the decrease. That port used to resume iron ore shipments in early to mid-March. However, the mine that shipped through Escanaba has been indefinitely idled. Therefore, the iron ore trade to domestic steelmakers could not resume until the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., reopened on March 25.
March coal shipments dipped by more than half, but limestone cargos nearly quadrupled to 185,000 tons.
Year-to-date, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 3.3 million tons, a decrease of 22 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Iron ore cargos are down by 20 percent and coal trails a year ago by 70 percent, but limestone – the only cargo to move in February – has more than quadrupled.