U.S.-Flag Cargo Movement on Lakes Down 3.3 Percent in 2015
CLEVELAND – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 87.2 million tons of cargo in 2015, a decrease of 3.3 percent compared to 2014. The end-year tally is also the lowest since 2009 when the U.S.-flag float totaled 66.5 million tons. Iron ore cargos tumbled 10.4 percent to 40.9 million tons, again, the lowest total since 2009. Coal cargos totaled 17.65 million tons, a decrease of less than one percent, or 118,000 tons, which is the equivalent of roughly two cargos in a 1,000-foot-long laker. Limestone cargos increased nearly 8 percent to 23.1 million tons, the highest total since 2008. U.S.-flag cement cargos rose 6.3 percent to 3.45 million tons. Salt cargos were almost a carbon copy of 2014 – 1.4 million tons. Sand shipments dipped 15 percent to 320,000 tons. Grain cargos topped 350,000 tons, an increase of 37 percent.