What carried 1/2 ton of cargo for every man,
woman and child
in the U.S. between 3/3/97 and 1/25/98?
Answer: The Jones Act Fleet!
CLEVELAND--When the cement-carrying barge MEDUSA CONQUEST arrived at her winter
lay-up berth in Chicago on January 25, it capped the most successful
navigation season on the Great Lakes since the boom economy of the 1970s.
Preliminary totals for cargo movement in U.S.-Flag lakers show the 66
vessels that saw service during the 1997 shipping season moved more than 125
million tons of dry- and liquid-bulk cargo. That total represents an
8-million ton increase over 1996 and easily qualifies as a new
post-recession peak for the Lakes Jones Act trades.
In addition to total
cargo movement, several individual U.S.-Flag and Great Lakes records were
established in 1997. The 1,000-foot-long BURNS HARBOR, operated by Bethlehem
Steel Corporation, upped the record iron ore cargo in the Head-of-the-Lakes
trade to 72,300 net tons. That one cargo
represents enough iron ore to feed the steelmaker's blast furnaces for 4.5
The U.S.-Flag supercarrier COLUMBIA STAR, one of 12 ships in the
Oglebay Norton fleet, pushed the record coal cargo for the long haul trades
to 70,903 net tons. The 770-foot-long ST. CLAIR (American Steamship Company)
delivered the largest coal cargo to a Canadian Great Lakes port west of the
Welland Canal when she carried 45,411 tons to Nanticoke.
laker PHILIP R. CLARKE, one of three sister ships in the 11-vessel fleet
operated by USS Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., set a new benchmark for the Jones
Act Lakes salt trade when she delivered 27,621 tons to Buffalo. Interlake
Steamship's ELTON HOYT 2ND became the longest vessel (698 feet) to ever
navigate the entire Federal channel in Cleveland's twisting Cuyahoga River.
Only two skyscrapers in Cleveland are taller than the HOYT is long.
ore cargos in U.S. bottoms totaled 63.4 million tons, the highest level
since 1981, the last pre-recession season on the Great Lakes. Loadings of
western coal totaled 13.9 million tons, the highest
level since that trade was initiated in 1976. Eastern coal cargos in U.S.
bottoms neared 9.5 million tons, an increase of 17.9 percent over 1996.
The 29.8 million tons of limestone and gypsum loaded into U.S.-Flag
lakers last year easily constitute a
new post-recession record and possibly represent an all-time high for
U.S.-Flag participation in that trade.
Only two commodities decreased in
1997. Salt loadings into U.S. bottoms slipped to 1 million tons, but that
total reflects that a major salt producer did not resume shipping until
June. The movement of liquid bulk products in U.S.-Flag tankers and
integrated tug/barges decreased 10 percent to 2.5 million tons.
During the 1997 navigation season, 66 of the 69 Jones Act lakers were in
service. One of the idle vessels, the J. L. MAUTHE, underwent conversion to
a self-unloading barge at a Great Lakes shipyard. The vessel has been
renamed the PATHFINDER and will return to service in 1998. Other ships not
activated in 1997 were a small cement carrier and a straight-decker best
suited for the grain trade. Visit the LCA's home page for complete details
Reported by: Lake Carriers'