The coldest April since 1997 put a chill on the Great Lakes limestone trade. Shipments totaled just 1,254,226 net tons, a decrease of 23 percent compared to a year ago, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association. Loadings trailed the month’s five-year average by even more – 33.3 percent.
Loadings at U.S. ports totaled 1.1 million tons, a decrease of 19 percent. Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 177,000 tons, a decrease of nearly 41 percent.
Year-to-date the limestone trade stands at 1.5 million tons, a decrease of 12.8 percent. Shipments from U.S. ports total 1.3 million tons, a decrease of 7 percent. The year-to-date total for U.S. ports includes 17,664 tons loaded in February and 218,452 tons shipped in March.
No limestone moved from Canadian quarries during the first quarter, so the April total is also the year-to-date total for Canadian ports.
Since 1880, Lake Carriers’ Association has represented the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet, which today can annually move more than 90 million tons of cargos that are the foundation of American manufacturing, power generation and construction: iron ore, limestone, coal, cement, and other dry bulk materials such as grain and sand. In turn, these cargos generate and sustain more than 103,000 jobs in the eight Great Lakes states and have an annual economic impact of more than $20 billion.