Great Lakes shipping up, but will it last?

Minnesota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2001  | September 2001 issue

Lake Superior shipping is on the upswing largely due to higher water levels and increased coal demand. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported that at the end of June, cargo shipped this season totaled 12.7 million tons—up 5 percent from the same period last year. Coal shipments increased by 6 percent over last year, and iron ore shipments are up over 4 percent for the same period.

Water levels and shipping volume have improved in Duluth, but another concern has arisen. Federal officials are considering imposing controls on steel imports, which could have a serious impact on the shipping industry. If imported steel is restricted, more ships entering the Great Lakes would likely be empty and charge shipping customers for a roundtrip voyage. A freight executive said that without steel moving in, getting the grain economics to work on the outbound side would be harder.

Kathy Cobb