Wisconsin Ports Gear Up For 2015 Shipping Season

Superior/Duluth Port Expects Slight Rise In Cargo Traffic

Paul Gravestock (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ports and shipyards are looking ahead as the start of the 2015 shipping season draws near. The first lakers are set to ship out from the Duluth/Superior harbor Monday.

The John G. Munson is the first to ship out from its winter layup at Fraser Shipyards in Superior and load up with 24,000 tons of iron ore on its way to Gary, Indiana.

Shipyards Operations Director Tom Curelli said they had five boats in layup this winter—half as many as last year. But he said they still have about 190 workers completing repairs.

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“The final two are going to be here a little longer. We’ve got more work to complete on them, but no problem. We should get them all done,” Curelli said.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority Spokeswoman Adele Yorde said they expect to see a 2 percent increase in the amount of cargo moving through the port this season.

“We have a number of additional shipments on the books already for wind installations in the Dakotas and further west, as well as machinery and equipment for oil and gas projects out west and into Canada,” Yorde said

Last year, Yorde said, around 37.5 million tons of cargo moved through the Twin Ports. That’s a bump of around 800,000 tons from the year before despite a late start to the season due to ice cover on the lakes.

Meanwhile, Green Bay Port Director Dean Haen said this year’s more mild winter may affect the amount of cargo coming in.

“There’s a large stockpile of salt. Additional salt won’t need to come in, as well as we’re seeing a significant decrease in the use of coal both locally and regionally,” Haen said.

Around 2.3 million tons of cargo moved through the Green Bay Port last year.

Haen said U.S. Coast Guard cutters are set to break up ice in the harbor after the opening of the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie. That’s expected to happen Wednesday