Great Lakes cargoes continue to be affected by lack of dredging

News – August 15, 2008

The Lake Carriers’ Association says the US-Flag Great Lakes fleet moved 11.4 million net tons of cargo on the Great Lakes in June, an increase of about 80,000 tons compared to a year ago.

The June float was, however, 220,000 tons below the month’s five-year average.

“Higher water levels have helped increase payloads, but the dredging crisis remains real,” said the company. “Vessels
transiting the St Marys River, for example, were able to load another 10-12 inches deeper than a year ago, but were still losing more than a foot of draft compared to 1997, a period of near record high water levels.”

“As a result, while top cargos this June were roughly 2,000 tons greater than a year ago, the month’s largest cargos were still 5,000 tons or more below what vessels were able to carrying during the period of high water.”

For the year, US-Flag carriage stands at 39.1 million tons, a slight decrease from a year ago, but more than 700,000 tons off the five-year average from the first half of the year.