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Low Great Lakes Levels Cause Problems for Shippers

Associated Press

Mary Muter (left) Chair of the Great Lake section of the Sierra Club Ontario, stands with cottage owners John Birgiolas, and his wife Rita who demonstrates where the water level was compared to where it is today, near Waubaushene on the southeast side of Georgian Bay in 2012. Water levels in the Severn Sound are currently at a historically low level. Photo: Image by Cody Storm Cooper

Low Great Lakes Levels Cause Problems for Shippers

CREATED Jul. 31, 2013

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Low water levels in the Great Lakes are causing problems for shippers, who have to shed cargo to avoid running aground in shallower waters.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report ( ) says the official depth of the navigable waters is supposed to be 27.5 feet. But in some areas this spring it was closer to 25 feet.

Jim Weakley is the president of the Lake Carriers Association. He says people sometimes refer to changes in the water levels as cyclical, but he doesn't use that term because it implies the water will return to its former level. He says levels have been below the long-term average for 14 years.

That's a problem for the shipping industry. Freighters have begun sailing under capacity to avoid running aground.