Iron ore shipping climbs in Escanaba

ESCANABA – Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 19.2 million tons through the end of June, a 17 percent decrease from a year ago and the trade’s long-term average.

Despite this number, locally in Escanaba, iron ore shipments through the end of June totaled 2.06 million tons – an increase from 917,000 tons at this same time last year, according to data compiled by the Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes.

Overall, higher water levels have not been able to offset the interminable delays suffered during the winter of 2013-14, the association says.

Shipments from U.S. ports through the second quarter stand at 16.8 million tons, a decrease of nearly 19 percent compared to a year ago. While several cargos in June topped 69,000 tons, even the best loads still represented a shortfall from the vessel’s rated capacity, and the month’s top load – 69,576 tons – was still 2,724 tons shy of the record through the Soo Locks: 72,300 tons.