Ore shipments at Great Depression levelsSome depressing numbers — with shades of the Great Depression — were released this week about the 2009 Great Lakes iron ore cargo shipment.
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Some depressing numbers — with shades of the Great Depression — were released this week about the 2009 Great Lakes iron ore cargo shipment. At 31 million tons total that figure is the lowest since 1938.
With demand for iron ore at a 71-year low, Lake Carriers’ Association Vice-President Glen Neckvasil says it’s a reflection of the whole economy in 2009. He says if producers aren’t making steel, they don’t need iron ore. Demand for limestone and coal were also down substantially.
Duluth Seaway Port Authority Director Adolph Ojard says he’s glad to wave goodbye to 2009, and he’s looking forward to this year’s shipping season. After starting last year at just 30 percent capacity, steel blast furnaces are now at 70 percent and iron mines in northern Minnesota are calling back workers. He says the economy is slowly picking up, and he expects to return, “to near normal levels by the middle of the shipping season.”
Ojard says last year, no iron ore was shipped in January. This year he says ships will carry that cargo right to the season ends Jan. 15.
By the way, 2009’s 31,792,629 net tons of iron ore shipped on the Great Lakes is just 25,000 net tons more than 1935.
In 1938, 21,574,573 tons of ore was carried on the Great Lakes. The all-time low was in 1932 when the bottom fell out. Only 3,996,441 tons were shipped in 1932.