Great Lakes iron ore, limestone trade up in 2017

Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 60.3 million tons in 2017, an increase of 10.9 percent over 2016 and the highest total recorded since 2012. The 2017 ore float also bettered the trade’s five-year average by 4.6 percent. 

Loadings at U.S. ports totaled 55.75 million tons, an increase of 13.4 percent—this despite Escanaba, Michigan, on the north shore of Lake Michigan, shipping its final cargo April 18. The iron ore mine that shipped through Escanaba, Empire Mine in Palmer, Michigan, closed because it had exhausted its mineable reserves. Following that, all domestically mined iron ore had to transit the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in order to feed blast furnaces in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Lake Superior ore ports that ship through the Soo Locks saw their loadings increase by 9.9 million tons, or 23.6 percent.

Shipments from Canadian ports in the St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 4.6 million tons, a decrease of 12.4 percent.

Looking at limestone

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 28 million tons in 2017, an increase of 6.4 percent compared to 2016. Loadings were also 2.1 percent above the trade’s five-year average.

Loadings from U.S. quarries totaled 23.2 million tons, an increase of 8.4 percent compared to 2016. Shipments from U.S. quarries also inched passed their five-year average.

Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 4.85 million tons, a decrease of 2.1 percent from 2016, but 10.4 percent better than their five-year average.

Maritime Editorial