U.S. Shipping Companies Pour $120 Million into Great Lakes States

February 14, 2024
February 14, 2024 LCA

CLEVELAND, OHIO (February 14, 2024) – The annual process of maintaining the U.S.-flagged fleet of “Lakers” on the Great Lakes began in mid-January after the navigational locks connecting Lake Superior to the lower lakes closed for repairs.  U.S. companies will invest more than $120 million into their vessels bringing skilled labor to shipyards and repair facilities around the Great Lakes states. The state receiving the largest sum was Wisconsin with $55 million followed by Ohio with $39 million, Pennsylvania at $19 million, and $7 million in Michigan.

“It is truly an amazing system where U.S. Lakers sail non-stop between March and January delivering as much cargo as possible before entering a two-month repair period.  The work is not only vital to maintaining the U.S. fleet but also to the communities where it is performed bringing excellent paying, hardworking jobs to everyday Americans,” stated Jim Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers Association.

Engineers carefully inspect each vessel and execute any needed repairs while also upgrading systems and crew quarters.  Major investments have been made to improve habitability onboard the vessels including wireless communications.  State-of-the-art electronics will be refreshed including navigational computers and propulsion control systems.  Hull plating will be replaced with steel made from iron ore that was shipped by the vessels to steel mills during the season.

Thanks to milder winter temperatures across the Great Lakes region the work will be a little less daunting this year.  The U.S.-flagged American shipping companies have the most talented mariners in the world and Great Lakes shipyards and repair facilities have the absolute best skilled workers to tackle any task to keep the vessels sailing another year.

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 energy: iron ore, stone, coal, cement, and other dry bulk materials such as grain, salt, and sand.


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