Fast-forming ice could choke out 2013 interlake shipping season

By KBJR News 1

December 30, 2013 Updated Dec 30, 2013 at 3:24 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The freezing cold is also a big concern for the inter–lake shipping industry, as officials turn their attention to fast–forming ice in the narrower shipping channels.

Both Canadian and US Coast Guard crews have been busy clearing ice from choke points in the Saint Lawrence Seaway System, specifically in narrow places like the Saint Mary's River.

The inter–lake shipping season is scheduled to end January 15th, and Lakers are busy making last minute hauls across the Great Lakes.

But the ice could put a premature end to the 2013 shipping season.

Adele Yorde, of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, says extending the shipping season into January is a relatively new achievement, thanks in large to modern technology.

"...Coast Guard capacity, tug capacity, the reinforced hulls on a lot of the Lakers that can make it through ice conditions that might not otherwise be passable," said Yorde three days before Sunday's big freeze.

Yorde says it is possible that shipping operators could decide to pull the plug on the season before January 15th if conditions pose to great a risk for safe, and cost effective, travel through the channels.

Billy Wagness