U.S.-Flag Shipping on the Great Lakes Up 16.8 Percent in 2021

U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 81.8 million tons of cargo in 2021, an increase of 16.8 per cent compared to 2020.  The 2021 float was less than 1 per cent below the fleet’s 5-year average.

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CLEVELAND – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 81.8 million tons of cargo in 2021, an increase of 16.8 per cent compared to 2020.  The 2021 float was less than 1 per cent below the fleet’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos totalled 41.7 million tons, an increase of 12.4 per cent compared to a year earlier.  Shipments of all other commodities increased as well in 2021. Coal cargos were up 42.7 per cent to 10.4 million tons.  Limestone and cement shipments increased by 16.7 and nearly 5 per cent, respectively.  Salt cargos were up by 34.2 per cent.  Shipments of sand were up by 21.6 per cent, while grain cargos increased by 16.3 per cent.

Commodity201620172018201920202021Average
2016-2020
Iron Ore
Direct Shipments41,094,53941,924,55341,711,80446,004,80533,422,40441,025,56140,831,621
Transshipments2,980,2934,064,2624,092,6293,678,6693,637,614625,6283,690,693
Total – Iron Ore44,074,83245,988,81545,804,43349,683,47437,060,01841,651,18944,522,314
Coal
Lake Superior9,609,90110,254,4628,697,7027,952,1334,930,7287,268,9858,288,985
Lake Michigan526,568369,327390,438723,841560,057827,962514,046
Lake Erie2,828,4082,708,7082,728,1922,642,9721,764,6502,255,7382,534,586
Total – Coal12,964,87713,332,49711,816,33211,318,9467,255,43510,352,68511,337,617
Limestone21,193,84521,553,13121,961,05024,086,72220,694,82324,141,41021,897,914
Cement3,246,4713,182,6362,933,3463,288,5093,441,4673,612,0123,218,486
Salt1,259,4091,067,836460,577923,476866,3541,162,396915,530
Sand265,220375,638493,128413,040411,165500,055391,638
Grain249,999237,331259,745289,728314,849366,154270,330
Totals83,254,65385,737,88483,728,61190,003,89570,044,11081,785,90182,553,831
U.S.-Flag Dry-Bulk Cargo Carriage on the Great Lakes
2016-2021 and Long-Term Average (net tons)

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 power: iron ore, stone, coal, cement, and other dry bulk materials such as grain, salt, and sand. More information is available at www.lcaships.com.

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