U.S.-Flag Lakers’ Cargo Up 5.75 Percent in 2011
CLEVELAND—U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (“lakers”) carried 93.8 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in 2011, an increase of 5.75 percent compared to 2010. The 2011 “float” was also just about on par with the fleet’s 5-year average. Iron ore cargos for the steel industry increased 12.4 percent compared to a year ago and outperformed their 5-year average by 12.7 percent. Coal loadings slipped by 6 percent compared to 2010, and even more – 14 percent – compared to the trade’s 5-year average. Limestone cargos rebounded by a million tons, or 5 percent compared to 2010. However, shipments of aggregate and fluxstone still trailed their 5-year average by 8 percent. The cement, salt, and sand totals increased slightly compared to 2010, but cement missed its 5- year average by about 500,000 tons. Salt topped its 5-year average by about 200,000. Sand was one cargo short of its 5-year average. Grain was down by roughly one boatload compared to 2010 and missed its 5-year average by about two cargos.