Cold Temperatures Causing Shipping Delays

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth Port normally sees cold temperatures like these in January, but officials say it’s the most ice on the lake at this time of year since about 2001.

The freeze is happening so early it’s starting to hamper some of the ship movement, particularly in Lake Erie, which is much shallower than Lake Superior.

Ships that would normally take an average of 12 hours to load are now taking twice as long and in some cases more than a day or two.

Equipment issues caused by the cold weather are also causing big delays.

“Things like conveyor belts that break, iron ore pellets that show up in rail cars are all frozen together and have to be thawed even before the cars can dump, and for the rail cars themselves pneumatic brakes and switching mechanisms,” said Duluth Seaway Port Authority Public Relations Director Adele Yorde.”

It’s still been a busy season for iron ore and there are about six ships wintering at the port.

The 2018 shipping season is scheduled to open on March 25.

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