Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totalled 61,354,552 net tons in 2011, an increase of 12.8% over 2010, and the highest total since 2006.

The year ended on a very strong note; December loadings were up 35%.

Loadings at U.S. Great Lakes ports rose 14.3% to 55 million tons. However, shipments from Canadian ports registered only a marginal increase: 57,937 tons, or roughly two loads in Seaway-sized lakers.

The 2011 ore float was 13% ahead of the trade’s 5-year average. U.S. ports collectively bettered their 5-year average by 17.6%, but loadings at Canadian ports slipped by more than 15%.