Lakes Shipping Affected By Low Water Levels

Ships on the Great Lakes are being prevented from loading to their full capacities because of low water levels caused by the drought in the mid-1980's.

While lake levels have regained most of the 17 inches of depth they lost to the heat from 1986 to 1988, vessels are still being light loaded, said Glen Nekvasil, communications director for the Lake Carriers' Association, Cleveland, Ohio.

Association vessels are limited by the Soo Lock, which has a depth of approximately 27 feet, 4 inches for vessel loadings. The result is a 9- inch shortfall which should improve by mid-summer, Mr. Nekvasil added.

The association's annual report of 1991 shows that a 1,000-foot vessel loses 267-tons of cargo for every one-inch draft reduction. Even if the average water loss is just 6 inches, this equates to 1,600 tons of lost cargo each trip, Mr. Nekvasil stated.

Other stories from July 1992 issue


Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.