The shipping season for 2009 hit a level of ore shipments that was record-breaking but not in a good way. The tons of ore shipped was the same as that of 1938. That can't be good. You can read about it in this article from Superior Telegraph: Ore Shipments at Great Depression Levels.
But the good news in the article is that the 2010 shipping season is already looking up because steel mills are ramping up production and the mines in Minnesota are calling workers back from layoff.
That's great news for boat watchers on the St. Marys River this year. The shipping season is just drawing to a close this week. The Soo Locks will be closing on Jan. 15. From the pictures I'm seeing, it looks like ice is forming quickly. They've had some really cold mornings according to my parents.
There have been some great pictures from boatnerds on the Internet of boats in the ice. Today I posted two taken by Cathy K. near DeTour of the Lee A. Tregurtha, a boat with an illustrious history including service in WWII for which she received 2 battle stars. You can read a more detailed history at http://www.boatnerd.com/ and put the name Lee A. Tregurtha in the search box.
Since being converted to an ore carrier, she has sailed the waters of the Great Lakes under several names. Lee A. Tregurtha became her name in 1989. Mrs.Dorothy Lee Anderson Tregurtha was the wife of Paul R. Tregurtha, the owner of Interlake Steamship Co. at that time.