CLEVELAND, OHIO (April 28, 2021) – The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has approved “The Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act” (S.576), which solidifies the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking mission in law and authorizes $350 million for the procurement of a new Great Lakes icebreaker as capable as the current heavy icebreaker USCGC MACKINAW (WLBB-30).
The Lake Carriers’ Association applauds Senators Baldwin (WI), Young (IN) and Peters (MI), along with Committee Chair Cantwell (WA) and Ranking Member Wicker (MS), for their vital support and diligent work to ensure Great Lakes’ ports remain reliable and competitive during the winter months. “The movement of the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act through the Senate Committee is an extremely important bi-partisan step in a positive direction. We look forward to working with all members to enact Great Lakes icebreaking legislation this Congress,” stated Jim Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers’ Association.
The Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act provides the framework to correct years of inadequate icebreaking on the Great Lakes. Over the past seven years, the economy lost over $2 billion and more than 10,000 jobs due to Great Lakes cargo being delayed or even left at the dock with no assistance available to safely move ships through the ice. With the authorization of $350 million for construction of another heavy Great Lakes icebreaker, the next logical step is to appropriate a significant amount of funding to start cutting steel and building the ship, so the Great Lakes navigation system remains resilient during the ice season and companies can continue to reliably move their cargo using the most environmentally friendly and economically efficient mode of transportation on the largest freshwater navigation system in the world.
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.