Essar Steel Algoma has resorted to trucks to get crucial coal shipments around the frozen Soo Locks to the mill. Extreme winter weather resulted in fast forming ice levels, delaying end of season freighter shipments of coal beyond the January 15 closing of the locks.
A contingency plan was enacted to have cargo offloaded at the Carbide Dock in Salt St. Marie, said Essar Steel Algoma spokesperson Brenda Stenta in an email to SMU. The company is currently in the process of transferring the coal to the mill “to support production levels for the balance of the winter season,” said Stenta.
The extreme temperatures this winter have kept the Coast Guard busy plowing channels through the rivers servicing the Great Lakes. Ice build-up can be as much as a foot deep in places trapping ships and freezing locks.
“It is unfortunate these last shipments were delayed,” said Stenta, “but that is why we have contingency plans in place. We owe special thanks to both the Canadian and US Coast Guards for their assistance in freeing the vessels on route to Sault Ste. Marie.”
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