U.S.-flag freighters plying the Great Lakes carried 10.3 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in July a 2.2 decrease compared to the same month in 2012, the Lake Carriers' Association said Friday.
The July float was also down 6.6 percent from the month's long-term average.
Limestone shipments took the biggest hit, dropping 20 percent versus a year ago as construction activity has remained sluggish. Compared to the long-term average, lime declined 3.3 percent.
U.S.-flag lakers moved 4.6 million tons of iron ore in July, 77 percent of all ore moving on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway that month. The 4.6 million tons represent a 6.7 percent increase compared to a year ago, but a drop of 5.7 percent compared to the month's long-term average. Demand for steel remains cyclical.
Coal shipments by U.S. carriers totaled 2 million tons in July, 71 percent of all coal moving on the Lakes. Coal shipments were up 13.5 percent versus July 2012, but down 14.4 percent compared to the rolling average. Great Lakes carriers are being impacted by Canada's decision to phase out coal for power generation.
Year-to-date, U.S.-flag carriers have transported 43.1 million tons, a decrease of 4.1 percent compared to a year ago, with iron ore down 3.7 percent, coal flat and limestone off 7.8 percent from last year's pace. - Eric Kulisch