Severe Winter Could Delay the Twin Ports Shipping Opener
Shipping on the Great Lakes, mainly, the Twin Ports, has been down of late. The main reason of course has been the lack of demand due to the recession, and now the severe winter weather we've just experienced, threatens to delay the start of Twin Ports shipping.
The Coast Guard has done a great job in the harbor, however Lake Superior is another story. We can see the exit from the harbor should be fine, but pretty much only two narrow paths are cut in Lake Superior. With the Soo Locks scheduled to open March 25th, the question remains how many boats will actually be able to navigate from Duluth Superior to their destination?
When the boat is "fit out" and needs to remain in the Twin Ports, the owners loose money, and the longer it takes to start their journey, the more money the shipping company and the Twin Ports loose, and it's money that cannot be made up.
There is also a strong element of danger this time of year as well. I can well remember the first time I shipped out of the Twin Ports as an oiler on the P.M. Line. We were perhaps two hours out of the Twin Ports when the alarm sounded, and my mates were tossing us all life jackets. I ran aft, and saw the name of the boat so large it seemed it was just a few feet from us. The Canadian boat had a large section of ice trapped in the rudder, which meant it could not turn, and of course could not stop. A few more feet, and I wouldn't be here today to write this.
It seems Mother Nature has thrown us another curve, and unless we have an unusually warm April (which is not forecast), we are at her mercy.