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Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes dropped in 2013

Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes in 2013 were down 5.3 percent from the year before, the Lake Carriers' Association reported.

The total for the year was 58.3 million tons but might have been more if the start of winter across the lakes hadn't been as harsh. Shipments were down 20 percent in December from the same month in 2012. Ships were forced to load less ore because of icing problems in the St. Marys River; they had to lighten loads by as much as 4,000 tons.

The Lake Carriers' Association represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S.-flagged vessels on the Great Lakes.