August Float Is Post-Recession Record09/17:
U.S.-Flag vessel operators carried 14,569,883 net tons of dry- and liquid-bulk cargo on the Great Lakes in August, the most cargo to move on the nation's "Fourth Seacoast" in any single month since the recession of the early- and mid-1980s. A total of 66 U.S.-Flag ships and tug/barge units were required to move that tonnage.
For the season, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 70,855,525 tons, an increase of 8.7 percent compared to last year's end-of-August total. The 1996 "float" for U.S.-Flag lakers, 117 million tons, is the current top season for the industry since the recession, but that record could well be toppled if the current pace continues.
George J. Ryan, President of Lake Carriers' Association, congratulated the entire Great Lakes maritime community on this accomplishment. "Although ships are the most visible component of our industry, achieving peak efficiency requires the contributions of many others besides the American mariners onboard U.S.-Flag lakers. The dockworkers who load the vessels, the shipyard workers who perform repairs quickly when needed, the U.S. Coast Guard who maintains the Aids to Navigation, the Corps of Engineers who operate the Soo Locks and dredge the channels... all played a major role in this new benchmark for Great Lakes shipping."
Ryan further noted that this new tonnage record is good news for the entire Great Lakes industrial basin. "Waterborne commerce is not a speculative business. The U.S.-Flag Lakes fleet moved those cargos because our steel mills, power plants and other industrial complexes continue to operate at very high levels of productivity and employment. That's good news for America."
Shipments of iron ore for the steel industry in U.S. bottoms totaled 6,866,511 net tons in August, an increase of 4 percent compared to the corresponding period last year. Since the resumption of the iron ore trade out of Escanaba, Michigan, on March 8, shipments in U.S.-Flag lakers stand at 35.1
million tons, an increase of 6.3 percent compared to last year's end-of-August total.
Coal loadings in U.S.-Flag vessels topped 2.8 million tons in August, an increase of 7.4 percent. For the season, the U.S.-Flag coal float totals 13.4 million tons, an increase of 18.3 percent.
Stone, the third pillar in domestic waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes, approached 4 million tons in August, and for the season, stands at 17.3 million tons, an increase of 9.3 percent.
Reported by: The Lake Carriers Association