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Great Lakes shipping season is off to a slow start due to ice
Residual ice in the St. Lawrence Seaway delayed an event to mark the opening of the 2015 shipping season in the Port of Cleveland
Story by MICHAEL BRATTON


 
Shipping season on the Great Lakes normally begins at the end of March and concludes in the middle of January.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO
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This past winter’s extreme cold is still causing problems for shipping on the Great Lakes.

Today was supposed to mark the opening of the Port of Cleveland, but it was delayed due to residual ice in the St. Lawrence Seaway

Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers’ Association says the delayed opening is not good for commerce.

LISTEN: Nekvasil on how ice affects shipping

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Spliethoff started new Cleveland-to-Europe shipping last year in hopes of beefing up the St. Lawrence route.“When we lose sailing days, it is very hard to recover the cargo that has been lost because of those delays," said Nekvasil. "The ships are already running at their maximum safe speed, and you really can’t load a boat any faster or unload it any faster. So, when we lose the ‘steaming days,’ we lose cargo.”

The U.S. Coast Guard expects most of the ice in Lake Erie to break up within a few days, while ice in other parts of the Great Lakes could be around for a few more weeks.

(Click image for larger view.)

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