CLEVELAND -

Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 6.048.409 tons in August, an increase of 2.9 percent compared to a year ago. However, shipments trailed the month's 5-year average by 5 percent.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.3 million tons in August, an increase of 7.7 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings at Canadian terminals dipped by 23 percent to 709,000 tons.

Year-to-date the iron ore trade stands at 32,851,570 tons, a decrease of 2 percent compared to the same point in 2015. Year-over-year, loadings at U.S. ports are up by 270,000 tons, or 0.9 percent, but shipments from Canadian ports in the St. Lawrence Seaway have slipped by 955,000 tons, or 21.6 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association represents 14 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes and carry the raw materials that drive the nation' economy: iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand, and grain.

Collectively these vessels can transport more than 100 million tons of cargo per year.