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About U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Shipping

Lake Carriers’ Association (“LCA”) represents U.S.-flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes. The Association's 17 member companies operate 57 U.S.-flag self-propelled vessels and tug/barge units (“lakers”) ranging in length from 494 to 1,013.5 feet. These vessels can carry more than 115 million tons of cargo in a year. Iron ore, limestone and coal are the primary commodities carried by LCA members. Other cargos include cement, salt, sand and grain. The vast majority of cargos carried by U.S.-flag lakers move between U.S. ports, in what is commonly referred to as the Jones Act trades.

In promoting the common interests of its members and their customers, LCA places special importance on legislative and regulatory matters. To facilitate a broad-based understanding of U.S.-flag shipping on the Great Lakes and its role in the nation's economy, LCA compiles statistical information on the volume of cargo movement, both in U.S.-flag lakers and from major Great Lakes ports in the United States and Canada.

America can take pride in the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet. No other maritime nation has assembled such a modern, productive fleet of self-unloading vessels. The thirteen 1,000-footers flying the U.S. flag on the Lakes are longer than most of the grandest ocean liners. So technologically advanced are these vessels that they can discharge 70,000 tons of iron ore or coal in 10 hours or less without any assistance from shoreside personnel or equipment. The industry’s carbon footprint is the smallest of any of the major transportation modes.

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