Shipping suffers as Great Lakes shrink

October 22, 2007

U.S. shipping companies are losing money for every inch the Great Lakes shrink, with water levels 7 inches below average, The New York Times reported.

In a report from the port city of Oswego, N.Y., on Lake Ontario, the Times said for every inch the water level drops, ships must reduce their cargo by 270 tons or risk running aground.

The Army Corps of Engineers report levels in all five Great Lakes -- Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario -- aren't likely to return to near average at least until March as winter runoff and precipitation replenish the chain.

James Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers' Association, told the Times 240 million tons of cargo travel across the Great Lakes every year and each of the U.S. fleet of 63 ships has had to reduce their cargo capacity by 8,000 tons this year.

"When a ship leaves a dock and it's not filled to capacity, it's the same as a plane leaving an airport with empty seats -- it cuts into their earning capacity," said Richard Stewart, a co-director of the Transportation and Logistics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Shipwrecks posing threat to US waters hold many unknowns

Related Stories

Great Lakes welcome rising water levels

July 8, 2014

After years of parched shorelines, water levels in the Great Lakes have come rushing back. The crowds that flock to the Superior shoreline this summer are finding harbors deeper and beaches narrower than they've been in 15 ...

Recommended for you

Revealing glacier flow with animated satellite images

November 26, 2015

Frank Paul, a glaciologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, has created animations from satellite images of the Karakoram mountain range in Asia to show how its glaciers flow and change. The images of four different ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.