Operators will conduct normal maintenance on their ships, such as overhauls of engines, cargo hold renewal and replacement of conveyor belts in the unloading systems.

Specifically, a steamship will have a new boiler and a 1,000-foot-long laker will incorporate highly-efficient Rolls Royce propeller blades, which will reduce fuel consumption and increase speed.

Furthermore, a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-flag laker will become the sixth vessels with exhaust gas scrubber, thus reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

“Winter is the one opportunity our members have to renew and upgrade their vessels. They have just 10 months to deliver their customers’ annual raw materials requirement, so the vessels are in service 24/7 during the shipping season,” James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, said.


Ten lakers will also be placed in drydock to allow the USCG and American Bureau of Shipping to inspect the hull, as required by US law.

The Lakes fresh water environment means vessels can serve the economy for many years. Namely, two of the 1,000-footers will start their 40th year of operation in 2018.