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The report, Status of the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Water Transportation Industry, finds that the U.S. Great Lakes maritime industry is generally healthy, providing efficient, safe and environmentally friendly transportation services. It continues to be competitive with railways and trucks and, supported by responsible regulation and infrastructure maintenanc
The study describes a broad range of issues relevant to the current and future health of the U.S.-flag Great Lakes water transportation industry. It provides information on U.S. vessels, ports, shipyards, cargo markets, emissions and ballast water regulations, dredging, regional planning, and other factors, with a focus on large dry bulk vessels, known as "Lakers." The study identifies and evaluates options to revitalize some U.S.-flag Lakers, particularly by repowering older vessels that still use steam engines with modern conventional diesel or LNG diesel engines.
The report notes that in 2009, the Great Lakes maritime industry suffered from a confluence of several challenging conditions, including a 33-percent drop in cargoes attributable to the recession. The moderate recovery in waterborne cargoes since that time, aided by the recovery of the automobile and steel industries, is providing support to the water transportation industry. Iron ore, the single-most important cargo for U.S.-flag Lakers, has almost fully recovered to pre-recession levels. With the exception of coal, the major cargoes of iron ore and limestone on the Great Lakes are projected to grow gradually with the economy over the next several years.
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