Shipping

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The Great Lakes shipping season officially kicks off Monday with the opening of the Welland Canal, the shipping channel that connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.


This week marks the start of a break in the Great Lakes shipping season.  A time when lakes freeze over, the locks at Sault St. Marie shut down, and crews on big freighters go home to their families.  

But not everyone stops working.

 

Most shipping on the Great Lakes comes to a close with the Soo Locks shutdown on Sunday.  It’s the end of a rough year for cargo companies.

According to the Lake Carriers Association, Great Lakes freighters transported over 83 million tons of cargo in 2016. That was a 4.5 percent decline compared to 2015.

The association’s Glen Nekvasil says shipments rose in only one category.  “Iron ore was the one cargo that increased. It was up about 8 percent, and our grain cargoes were down almost 30 percent.”

Officials in the United States and Canada have approved a plan to allow the level of Lake Ontario to fluctuate more -- a change that has been opposed by some residents. 


At the Maritime Academy of Toledo, students learn basics like math and English. They also take classes on  boatbuilding.

On a fall day in the boat lab, a few students are working on the inside of a small wooden boat. They’re gluing pieces of wood together along the inside of the boat before sanding it down.

Elizabeth Miller

Heavy winds didn’t stop the hundreds gathered to watch the Port Clinton lighthouse make a half-mile journey down the Portage River to its new home on Lake Erie. The 120-year-old lighthouse has been an enduring symbol for Port Clinton, a town west of Cleveland. 
 

Fans followed the path of the 12,000-pound lighthouse Tuesday as it traveled by boat and truck, lifted by a crane three times. It had been sitting for more than 50 years at a nearby marina. 

greatlakes-seaway.com

It's a late opening for the St. Lawrence Seaway this season. In fact, it's the latest start in five years. The reason is, the harsh winter has led to some of the worst ice conditions in the Great Lakes in decades.

WBFO File Photo / WBFO News

Canadian news sources are reporting that a plan to ship radioactive waste on the Great Lakes has been canceled.