Dear Ms. Whelan:
Lake Carriers’ Association represents 16 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes. Calumet Harbor, part of the Chicago Area Waterway System, is an important port of call for our members. In 2012, the last year for which complete data is available, they moved more than 4 million tons of cargo through that harbor. Coal was the largest single commodity, almost 2.6 million tons. Other cargos included cement, limestone, salt and sand. It is critically important that Calumet Harbor be dredged to project dimensions on a regular basis. The vessels that serve that harbor lose anywhere from 50 to 125 tons for each inch of draft lost to inadequate dredging. Therefore, we fully support the Chicago Area Waterway System Dredged Material Management Plan, as it will provide the capacity to dredge the Chicago Area Waterway System for the next 25 years. The economy and the environment will benefit from maintaining Calumet Harbor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that Great Lakes shipping annually saves its customers $3.6 billion in freight costs compared to the next least costly mode of transportation. Great Lakes shipping is also the greenest mode of transportation. Again using Corps findings, a cargo of 1,000 tons carried by a Great Lakes freighter produces 90 percent less carbon dioxide as compared to the same cargo transported by truck and 70 percent less than the same cargo hauled by rail. Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Chicago Area Waterway System Dredged Material Management Plan.
James H. I. Weakley President