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Thick ice keeps freighters backed up for miles (3 photos)

Monday, April 21, 2014   by: Kenneth Armstrong


Thick ice on Lake Superior has created a logjam of freighters backed up along the shipping channel, including boats carrying iron ore bound for Essar Steel Algoma.

Freighter traffic is moving in convoys through the St. Mary’s river and is backed up on Lake Superior to Michipicoten Island, 175 km north of Sault Ste. Marie, said Matthew Anderson, vessel management specialist with the US Coast Guard.

“There’s more ice on Lake Superior now than we would expect this time of year,” said Anderson.

The Lake Carriers Association reported that ore shipments on the Great Lakes were down 43 percent for the month of March over last year, which they attribute to thick ice formations.

They note an example of an iron ore shipment loaded in Escanaba, Mich. and destined for Cleveland, Ohio that was in transit for 12 days, rather than the expected 50 hours.

Anderson said ice-breaking operations on the St. Mary’s River are about two weeks behind schedule, with Lake Superior lagging at least a month behind.

Brenda Stenta, manager of corporate communications for Essar Steel Algoma, said the Sault steelmaker is receiving freighter loads of coal from the lower lakes, but ice conditions on Lake Superior continue to "critically delay" shipments of iron ore.

Stenta said that they are affected by the slowdown, but production continues as the plant is receiving ore shipments by rail in the interim.

(PHOTO: Freighters line up on Lake Superior off Gros Cap on the weekend.

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Sam C 4/21/2014 2:08:28 PM Report

This must be the PUC's fault, somehow.
old-cat33 4/21/2014 2:31:15 PM Report

Coldest winter on record? Duh there is going to be ice on Lake Superior till June!
S.M.A.R.T. 4/21/2014 2:51:16 PM Report

Sam C.......but of course. Elementary my dear Watson.
ShawnM 4/21/2014 7:00:28 PM Report

Its funny that no one is blaming global warming this year for too much ice and cold...
Sam C 4/21/2014 8:02:23 PM Report

Shawn... uh, that IS part of what has happened. It's just that it should more accurately be called "climate change."
rockbanger 4/21/2014 8:06:33 PM Report

Like it or not

Essar management made a huge mistake by not stocking up raw materials properly for winter. If you knew the actual tonnage the facility has failed to produce you would shake your head.

Not any of the workers... Only management made this mistake.

Poor Algoma.
guestwho 4/22/2014 12:47:08 AM Report

they should at least go break the ice at the mouth of goulais river while they`re sitting around,save a lot of heartache
D.Hasselhoff 4/22/2014 8:35:28 AM Report

i heard they are going to blast at the mouth of the river if it gets backed up. the ice went out yesterday but it's melted pretty nicely this year. knock on wood and here's hoping.
Jay72 4/23/2014 1:50:42 PM Report

Check out this link...

or this one...

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