Cargo volumes carried by U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters fell 6.4 percent year-over-year in June to 9.65 million net tons
U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters transported 9.65 million net tons of cargo in June, a 6.4 percent decline from June 2015, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association.
On a bright note, iron ore volumes carried by U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters during the month jumped 8.1 percent year-over-year to 4.8 million tons. However, coal volumes stood at 1.5 million tons and limestone shipments reached 2.9 million tons, a year-over-year drop of 27.8 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
Self Discharging Bulk Carrier - Image: Debra Murray
Overall, on a year-to-date basis, U.S.-flag freighters on the Great Lakes transported 30.5 million tons of cargo, a slight decline from the 31.6 million tons for the same period last year.
Consequently, U.S. ports have also been feeling the pinch. Although ports across the nation have been busy, the beginning of the shipping season has been slower than anticipated, the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership said.
However, certain U.S. ports have still experienced some success this season.
At the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, just 18 nautical miles southeast of Chicago, new shipments of intermodal cranes drove June’s maritime port cargo numbers up from June 2015, according to Rick Heimann, the port’s director.
“We’ve had multiple large cranes and containers of crane components arrive by ship from Europe that will be used to handle containers in multiple intermodal yards around the Midwest,” Heimann said. “June cargo volumes were also helped by new outbound shipments of recycled rubber and strong volumes of bulk commodities for use in the steel-making process by ArcelorMittal.”
Meanwhile, the Port of Milwaukee had seen strong volumes of steel and agricultural products through the port in June, according to Paul Vornholt, the port’s director.
“Additionally, the Port has just completed reconstruction and upgrades on two Class 1 rail lines serving port tenants and terminals,” Vornholt said. “In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Port invested nearly $3 million on this project which will maximize our multi-modal connections and make it easier for our customers to move their products through the Seaway.”