January 15, 2018
Great Lakes U.S.-flag vessel operators plan to spend $65 million maintaining and modernizing their vessels to meet the needs of commerce in March 2018, the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) reports. The major focus will be on normal maintenance, such as engine overhauls, renewing the cargo hold, and replacing conveyor belts in the unloading systems.
“Winter is the one opportunity our members have to renew and upgrade their vessels,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, in a press release. “They have just 10 months to deliver their customers’ annual raw materials requirement, so the vessels are in service 24/7 during the shipping season.”
Other vessels will be modernized, including a steamship having its boiler completely rebuilt, a 1,000-foot laker installing highly efficient Rolls Royce propeller blades to reduce fuel consumption and increase speed, and a 1,000-foot U.S.-flag laker installing an exhaust gas scrubber. Ten lakers will be placed in drydock for hull inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping.
The major shipyards on the Great Lakes are located in Sturgeon Bay, Superior, and Marinette, Wisc.; Erie, Pa.; and Toledo, Ohio. Smaller “top-side” repair operations are located in Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Escanaba and several other cities in Michigan.