Some Great Lakes Ships Are Done Working Till Next Year
The Edgar B. Speer, Roger Blough, and Philip R. Clarke are done for this year putting 94 Duluth workers out of work, according to the Star Tribune.
Mitch Koslow told the Minnesota Star Tribune. Koslow is vice president of the Pennsylvania-based parent company Keystone Shipping Co., which runs the Great Lakes fleet for the Canadian National Railway (CN), it is because of the pandemic. The declines are because people aren't buying products like vehicles or other things made from iron ore so that means there are fewer shipments which means the boats aren't working. When the ships aren't working there is no work, so the shipyard employees have to be let go.
They went on to say that those ships will sit until next Spring, but that also depends on whether there is a demand for the taconite pellets that they carry. The spokesperson went on to say to the Star Tribune that their largest customers are US Steel and the automakers.
That has a trickle-down effect too, the company told the Star Tribune that even the Iron Range mines have laid off 1700 workers because there is no demand for their product. Port Authority says their shipments are down one-third from what it was last year.
This couldn't have come at a worse time with other places around the area laying off workers. According to Minnpost, iron ore looked like it was enjoying a little spike in the need for iron ore and taconite pellets. Duluth/Superior also exported coal, but that was already starting to be a dying business.