Even though we are experiencing above average temps there is still ice on Lake Superior and the ships coming through under the Aerial are a bit frosty.  This picture is of the final ship to sail under the Aerial Lift Bridge this shipping season.  The Lee A. Tregurtha will call the Duluth Port home until shipping resumes in March.

While winter's elements such as ice and inclement sailing weather keeps the ships in their berth. So does the Soo Locks which is where freighters, barges, tugboats and others experience a 21-foot drop between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. They use gates and empty water and fill water to bring the ships up and down to the levels they need to be at.  Pretty cool engineering, huh?

Every year the Soo Locks close from mid-January to near the end of March.  Just like our Aerial Lift Bridge, this allows for major maintenance projects to be completed. Like repair, grease, install, replace, extend, verify, test and more.  Whew, that's a lot to get done in a short amount of time.

How did 2016 go for the shipping industry?   Jim Sharrow, Director of Port Planning for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority told WDIO.com that the season was up 30 million tons, which is a bit down from last year, but the grain shipments were up 27% higher than the last 5 year average.