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Great Lakes ore, limestone shipments up over 2010

The tonnage of iron ore and limestone shipped on the Great Lakes in September was less than in August, but greater than the tonnages shipped in September 2010.

The tonnage of iron ore and limestone shipped on the Great Lakes in September was less than in August, but greater than the tonnages shipped in September 2010.

Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 6.4 million tons in September, a decrease of 2.3 percent from August, but an increase of 19.5 percent compared to a year ago. September loadings were also up 15.1 percent compared to the month's five-year average, according to figures released Tuesday by the Lake Carriers' Association.

Iron ore shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.6 million tons, an increase of nearly 29 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports were virtually unchanged from a year ago.

Iron ore shipments totaled 43.1 million tons through September, an increase of 10.5 percent compared to a year ago, and 11 percent better than the five-year average for the first three quarters.

Limestone shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3.5 million net tons in September, a decrease of 6.7 percent from August, but an increase of 2.4 percent compared to a year ago. September loadings were 4 percent off the month's five-year average.

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Shipments from U.S. quarries increased 10 percent compared to a year ago and were only marginally below the month's five-year average. However, loadings at Canadian quarries were off more than 22 percent from last year's tonnage and 8.5 percent below September's five-year average.

Limestone shipments totaled 19.7 million tons through September, a decrease of 3.9 percent compared to the same point in 2010, and a drop of 13 percent compared to the five-year average for the first three quarters.

Shipments from U.S. ports are up 11.8 percent compared to a year ago and 14.9 percent ahead of their five-year average. Loadings at Canadian ports are marginally ahead of last year's pace, but 13.4 percent below the five-year average for the January-September time frame.

The Lake Carriers' Association represents 17 American companies that operate 55 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes.

Steve Kuchera is a retired Duluth News Tribune photographer.
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