The Iron Mining Association of Minnesota (IMA) is excited to celebrate a sure sign of Spring – the start of the commercial shipping season.
According to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, this week’s arrival of United States Coast Guard Cutters Alder and Mackinaw signal that the shipping season is about to commence. The first two ships headed to Minnesota are the Kaye E. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha which will both be loading iron ore – the Barker in Two Harbors and the Tregurtha in Duluth.
The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie open Monday and will allow the ships to carry Minnesota iron to North American steelmaking facilities.
“Shipping plays an integral role in bringing responsibly sourced iron ore to make cleaner American steel,” IMA President Kelsey Johnson said, noting that recent studies have found American-made steel produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the same products made in other competing nations.
More than 80 percent of the nation’s iron is mined in Minnesota, and that ore accounts for nearly 60 percent of shipments leaving the Duluth port. Iron ore led the port’s exports in last year 21.5 million tons of ore were shipped – the most transported from Duluth-Superior in a single season since 1995.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, each ton of iron ore shipped generates $23,000 in downstream economic activity.
“This start helps highlight the significant importance of Minnesota’s iron mining industry for our regional economy,” Johnson said.