Cargo Reports – Year-in-Review 2020 – U.S.-Flag Vessels

June 23, 2021
June 23, 2021 LCA

U.S.-Flag Shipping on the Great Lakes Down 22.2 Percent in 2020

CLEVELAND – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 70 million tons of cargo in 2020, a decrease of 22.2 percent compared to 2019.  The 2020 float was also 18.5 percent below the fleet’s 5-year average.

Shipments of cement increased by 4.7 percent while grain shipments increased by 8.7 percent. However, shipments of all other commodities decreased in 2020.  Iron ore cargos totaled 37.1 million tons, a decrease of 25.4 percent from 2019.  Coal was down 35.9 percent.  Limestone dipped by 14.1 percent and salt cargos were off by 6.2 percent. Sand shipments decreased by less than 1 percent.

About Lake Carriers’ Association

Since 1880, Lake Carriers’ has represented the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet, which today can move more than 90 million tons of cargos annually that are the foundation of American industry, infrastructure, and power: iron ore, stone, coal, cement, and other dry bulk materials such as grain, salt, and sand. More information is available at

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 Information based on data from knowledgeable sources.  However, accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  LCA assumes no legal responsibility for the outcome of decisions or commitments made on the basis of this information.  This report represents the views of LCA and may not necessarily represent the views of its individual members.


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