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Shipping: Still Challenges Ahead

Updated: 06/03/2014 10:40 PM
Created: 06/03/2014 4:24 PM WDIO.com

A barge and crane are working together to remove sediment that's built up in our shipping channels. You could see this operation off the end of the piers in Duluth on Tuesday. This called dredging, and is important to maintain our strong shipping industry.

The industry is facing certain challenges, according to the Lake Carriers' Association. Those challenges, like the major ice cover for six weeks, have meant delays in cargo delivery. 

But the shipping companies could get help from Mother Nature herself. 

"The good news is, that water levels are up in Lake Superior eight inches from the average, and 13 inches from last year at this time. That means our ships can carry more cargo," explained Jim Sharrow, Facilities Manager at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Sharrow said the levels are up because of a combination of extra snow we got, plus the ice cover meant less evaporation.

Companies are also keeping an eye on the weather now, even though we're in the summer-like season. High winds and waves can delay trips, and they're counting on every second this summer.

However, some vessels will be seen sitting in the harbor. Sharrow said that sometimes they have to wait for a berth at a dock, or their cargo isn't ready yet.

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