The recent cold snap has left Great Lakes freighters struggling through ice covered lakes trying to make their final loads before the shipping season ends early next week.
The Soo Locks close for annual winter maintenance January fifteenth, and with ice covered waters slowing down vessels Glen Nekvasil, the vice presidents of the Lake Carriers Association, says some cargo may have to wait till spring.
“This is a real winter again and we are experiencing significant delays. And when it is all said and done I think it is almost certain that we’re going to see some cancelled cargo. And definitely some cargos were seriously delayed”.
Nekvasil said Coast Guard icebreakers have their work cut out for them trying to keep the channels open.
“The problem is very simple we just do not have enough ice breakers on the great lakes to handle these kind of winters. The previous two years when they were very very mild yes we had enough assets, but this winter we need more ice breakers”.
Congress has authorized funding for an additional vessel, but the U.S. Coast Guard says no funding has been appropriated.