Commercial movements on the Great Lakes during August, 1907, as measured by the volume of shipments from the various lake ports, attained a total of 12,597,-866 net tons—the largest monthly total recorded by the Bureau of Statistics, Department of Commerce and Labor, for any summer month. Shipments for August are about 10 per cent larger in volume than the ship ments for July of this year, over 15 per cent larger than the corresponding figures for 1906, and over 33 per cent in excess of the 1905 figures, while figures for the eight months of the year, 50,441,647 net tons, are about 14 per cent and 24 per cent larger than the cor responding 1906 and 1905 shipments. The large ton nage of iron ore and coal moved during the month is responsible for the growth in the total shipments re corded for the month as compared with August, 1906. The iron-ore shipments, mainly from the Lake Supe rior ports of Ashland, Duluth, Marquette, Superior, Two Harbors, and the Lake Michigan port of Esca-r.aba, aggregated 6,950,343 gross tons, compared with 5,533,442 gross tons reported for August, 1906, and 6,228,230 gross tons, the earlier record figure, shipped during June, 1907. The shipments of iron ore for the season up to September 1 amounted to 24,466,231 gross tons, which is over 2y2 million tons in excess of the corresponding 1906 figures. The favorable total might have been even larger were it not for the inter ruption of ore mining and traffic during July and the still continuing shortage of the labor supply at some of the more important mines in the Lake Superior district. Shipments of soft coal for the month, mainly from Lake Erie ports, to the head of the lakes and Milwau kee, 2,045,531 net tons, while about 7 per cent larger than the August, 1906, figures, are, however, more than half a million tons below the July shipments. This decrease is to be accounted for mainly by the fact that many ore freighters which during the pre ceding month had been engaged In the carrying of grain and coal resumed the transportation of iron ore and could not afford to incur the delay of loading coal for the return trip west. The total shipments for the eight months of the year, 9,798,209 net tons, are over 30 per cent larger than the corresponding 1906 .figures. Shipments of hard coal during the month, mainly from Buffalo, 555,828 tons, were, on the other hand, larger than the July figures and somewhat be low the corresponding August, 1906, figures, though shipments for the eight months, 2,309,556 net tons, are over 40 per cent in excess of like 1906 shipments. Wheat shipments for the month, mainly from Du luth, Chicago, and Superior, 4,581,482 bushels, were about 20 per cent below the August, 1906, figures, while the total for the season, 24,916,711 bushels, was about 56 per cent in excess of the corresponding 1906 figures. Under the general head of "grain" the largest decrease in shipments is shown by oats, the figures for the month, 1,157,074 bushels, being about 60 per cent below the August, 1906, figures, while shipments for the season, 15,725,939 bushels, are also considerably below the 1906 shipments of 25,079,189 bushels. Flour shipments for the month, chiefly from Milwaukee, Superior, Chicago, and Duluth, 145,944 net tons, were about 19 per cent below the August, 1906, figures, while the total for the eight months, 706,403 net tons, was slightly above the corresponding 1906 total. Of the Lake Erie ports, to which the flour is mainly shipped, Buffalo took by far the largest share, though consid erable quantities of flour were also handled at Erie, Pa. Shipments of lumber during the month, 198,105,000 feet, while in excess of the July figures, show a smaller total as compared with the corresponding 1906 figures. Lumber shipments for the season, 898,269,000 feet, were about 19 per cent less than the corresponding 1906 figures. The figures of copper shipments, mainly from upper Michigan mines, 8,352 gross tons, show a decrease of about 50 per cent, both as compared with the preced ing month's figures as well as the figures of August, 1906, and reflect to some extent the present unsatis factory state of the copper market. Figures for the current season, 55,648 net tons shipped, are about 25 per cent below the corresponding 1906 figures of 74,468 net tons. The shipments during the month of unclassed or package freight, 925,965 net tons, on the other hand, show a considerable increase over August, 1906, figures of 801,283, larger shipments being credited to Milwau kee, Cleveland, and Sandusky, while shipments from Buffalo, Duluth, and Sault Ste. Marie show smaller figures than a year ago. The total for the eight months, 4,278,010 net tons, is about 15 per cent in ex cess of the corresponding 1906 figures. About two-thirds of the total merchandise tonnage shipped during the month, viz., 8,544,833 net tons, passed through the canal at Sault Ste. Marie. Of the latter figure, 6,697,307 net tons represented an east-bound and 1,847,526 a westbound movement. As com pared with the figures of July traffic, the August fig ures show an improvement by 1,351,597 net tons, due exclusively to the larger figures of the eastbound iron-ore movement, which had fallen off considerably dur ing the previous month, owing to the strike of the iron-ore workers in the Lake Superior region. The iron-ore movement through the canals, 6,120,880 net tons, was 17 per cent in excess of the corresponding 1906 and almost 30 per cent in excess of the August, 1905, movement. Other important items of the eastbound movement for the month were: Wheat, 7,312,829 bushels; other grain, 3,123,216 bushels; flour, 850,935 barrels, and . lumber, 99,889,000 feet. The decrease of wheat and other grain movements as compared with July figures is quite notable, though this decrease is probably due, to a large extent, to smaller shipments of Canadian wheat. Of the total westbound traffic passing through the canals during the month, almost 80 per cent, viz., 1,448,467 net tons, was represented by soft coal and 204,589 ? t tons by hard coal. The total number of vessel passages through Oie canals during August—3,013—is smaller than the num ber recorded for August, 1906 and 1905—3,240 and 3,088, respectively—though the tonnage of the vessels locked through the canals—6,352,462—is about 11 per cent in excess of the corresponding 1906, and 26 per cent in excess of the corresponding 1905 figures. The total freight tonnage which passed through the canals during the current season—33,526,388 net tons —is largely in excess of the corresponding 1906 and 1905 totals—29,954,278 and 26,164,799 net tons, respec tively—while the corresponding figures of vessel move ments are 12,178 vessels of 25,155,715 net tons register for the current season, as compared with 13,691 ves sels of 24,097,454 net tons for the 1906 season and 13,077 vessels of 21,710,816 net tons for the 1905 season.
This article was originally published with the title "Commerce on the Great Lakes" in Scientific American 97, 21, 374-375 (November 1907)