"Waiting For Dredging, Great Lakes Ports Close As Water Drops"

"Shipping companies are making a case to Congress for more money to dredge Great Lakes ports and waterways. With water levels near a record low, ports are losing the battle against sediment."

"Picture a football field with dirt piled a mile and a half high. That’s how much the backlog of dredging is in the Great Lakes. Lake Carriers Association Vice-President Glen Neckvasil says the Army Corps of Engineers has had enough money to keep pace with sediment in only six of the last 25 years. He says this means lakers are sailing with light loads: “... extremely so. Right now, looking at the end of December there, ships -- that if the water levels were high, it could carry 72,000 tons of cargo -- were carrying less than 61,000 tons.'

Neckvasil says the problem is all over. 'It’s a system-wide problem. It depends on what trade route you’re in. Sometimes the St. Mary’s River is what sets your draft, other times it might be the discharge port.'"

Mike Simonson reports for Wisconsin Public Radio January 15, 2013.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio, 01/18/2013