Shipping company says it has ordered first new ship for the Great Lakes since 1983

Apr 11, 2019

A Great Lakes shipping company has ordered what they believe is the first new ship for carrying cargo through the lakes since 1983.


Officials with the company say there is a growing need for “river class” ships. Those are smaller ships, usually around 650 feet long. Great Lakes bulk carriers are typically closer to 1,000 feet long.

Brendan O’Connor is with the Interlake Steamship Company, which ordered the carrier. He said there have been changes in the marketplace.

The proposed Interlake Steamship Company vessel

“And that doesn’t mean business is growing. What we’ve seen is a reduction in a specific category of vessel and as I mentioned it’s in the river class category.”

O’Connor said ships are usually paid based on the size of the load they carry - And that has lead to a lot of the smaller river class vessels being retired.

He said the company believes that by 2022, when the ship is expected to be completed, there will be a need for more vessels of its size.

O’Connor described the ship as a “significant investment” for the company. The vessel will be manufactured in Wisconsin.