U.S.-flag ships operating on the Great Lakes saw a 7 percent decrease in the amount of cargo moved in March compared with March 2012, but the total is slightly ahead of the five-year average of 2.1 million tons.
Great Lakes freighters handled just shy of 2.2 million tons of cargo last month, the Ohio-based Lake Carriers' Association said Wednesday.
The shipping season got underway in earnest in March.
So far this year, freighters have hauled 5.2 million tons of a cargo, about 19 percent less than the same time last year, according to the report.
"Iron ore cargoes are down by 13.4 percent," the report stated. "Coal loadings are down by more than 50 percent, but limestone is 61 percent ahead of last year's pace."