U.S. Records on the Lakes 07/10:
Even though the 1997 Great Lakes shipping season is just 4 months old,U.S.-Flag "lakers" have already set new cargo records for two commodities. On July 6, the 1,000-foot-long COLUMBIA
STAR (Oglebay Norton Company) set a new benchmark for the Head-of-the-Lakes coal tradewhen she loaded 70,903 net tons of low-sulfur coal at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The cargo was delivered to Detroit Edison's powerplant in St. Clair, Michigan.
In April, the 767-foot-long PHILIP R. CLARKE (USS Great Lakes Fleet, Inc.) upped the salt record to 27,621 tons when she loaded a Buffalo-bound cargo at Fairport Harbor, Ohio.
"While cargo records provide a great sense of accomplishment for the ship's crew and operator, their true value is a measure of the ever-increasing efficiency of the Lakes Jones Act fleet," said George J. Ryan, President of Lake Carriers' Association. "Competition from the railroads and other modes of domestic transportation, as well as overseas suppliers of raw materials, demands that U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleets constantly raise the standard of excellence. In reviewing cargo records over the years, it becomes obvious that each time technology permitted bigger ships, the Lakes Jones Act fleet seized the opportunity to better serve its customers."
An analysis of record cargos for the three major commodities, iron ore, coal and stone, shows that since 1940, the benchmark cargo has increased by as much as 328 percent.
"There is one story that cargo records don't tell," Ryan continued. "Today's record cargos are discharged in less than 8 hours without any assistance from shoreside personnel or equipment. It
would have taken days to unload 71,000 tons of coal from the straight-decker vessels which once ruled the Great Lakes."
Ryan further noted that the current record cargos for the iron ore and coal trades represent in one trip more cargo than a ship could carry in a whole season a century ago. "According to LCA's 1890 Annual Report, 'one of the largest ore carriers on the Great Lakes made 30 trips, moving 66,000 tons, or an average of 2,200 per trip.' Few industries can boast of such dramatic increases in efficiency."
Reported by: the Lake Carriers Association