News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Knight Foundation


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


Great Lakes shippers are traveling light because water levels are dropping
Trade association says the solution is dredging, but Congress is lagging
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Courtesy of P.Gordon, Flickr
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

One of the earliest and most consistent signs of the recovery of Ohio’s manufacturing economy is having trouble.The $34 billion-a-year Great Lakes shipping industry is lighter this year – not because of lower demand, but because of lower water levels.
WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with the vice president of the trade association for the shippers, who says it’s a long-term problem that is supposed to have a long-term solution in place.

Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers Association says the water levels in the Great Lakes have been below average for 13 years and 2012’s draught conditions really accelerated the problems.  The shipping industry has a formula: for each inch of what called draft – how deep in the water a cargo ship can sit – a ship gains or loses 50 to 200 tons of cargo.

“And unfortunately, with the way the water levels have gone down on the lakes, we’re not talking about losing inches of draft, we’re talking about losing feet of draft.  As a matter of fact, a ship that came into Cleveland here came in about two feet short of its draft, so that meant it lost more than 4,000 tons of cargo."

That’s costing the shipping industry, he says, and will cost its customers, including steel mills and power plants that get massive amounts of iron ore and coal.

“We can’t give them the best freight rate. And in periods of peak demand, there can be concerns about whether they’re going to get enough cargo to meet their needs.”

A push to dredge
Nekvasil says the solution is dredging the Great Lakes channels to the standards already approved by Congress. That's supposed to be funded by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which takes in about $1.6 billion a year. But he says only about half of that is being spent on dredging.

He estimates 18 million cubic yards of sediment need to be dredged.

Other alternatives are few, he said. Shippers don't have spare ships to split the loads. And “you cannot make your ship really go any faster. … You can’t really load them any faster or discharge them any faster. Everything has been … designed to its most efficient level. So it’s really about dredging and getting more cargo on the boat each trip."

Glen Nekvasil says separate bills to spur the dredging are pending in both the House and Senate, but no bill has passed both chambers. 

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

What's it take to take control of cancer?
In the case of bowel/colorectal cancer, the surest method of prevention is to have a colonoscopy, during which pre-cancerous "polyps" are removed - https://t.co...

Western Stark Free Clinic is set to close but to continue its role
WHAT OTHER DENTAL CLINICS AND MEDICAL CLINICS ARE IN THE CANTON AND MASSILLON, OHIO AREAS?

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University