SUPERIOR (WKOW) -- Shippers might be in for some rough waters ahead, in the Upper Great Lakes. Officials say, the water levels are lower than usual. Many shippers rely on those waterways.
When water levels decline, ships can't be weighed down to maximum capacity. Instead the shippers "light-load," which keeps the vessels from riding down too low but means valuable cargo space is wasted.
Lake Superior is down a foot from long-term averages. Lake Michigan is down 15 inches.
Lake Carriers Association executive Glen Neckvasil tells Wisconsin Public Radio that ships that carried 71,000 tons per trip in 1997 carried 59,000 this year.
However, weather forecasts are promising. The Army Corp of Engineers says water levels on Lakes Michigan and Superior should rise three to four inches in coming weeks.