Great Lakes Coal Trade Down 3 Percent in August
CLEVELAND – Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 2.9 million tons in August, an increase of 6 percent compared to July, but a drop of 3 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to the month’s 5-year average, loadings were down 25 percent. Overseas shipments continued in August. Coal shipped to Québec City for reloading into oceangoing vessels totaled 196,000 tons. For the season, the overseas trade totals 980,000 tons.
Water levels and the dredging crisis impacted the coal trade in August. The Lakes are usually approaching their peak at this time of year and the season’s top cargos are often loaded in August. However, water levels are plunging and only 17 of the 63 Federally maintained ports are being dredging this year. The largest coal cargo shipped in August totaled only 64,678 tons, well below the record of 70,903 tons set in August 1997.