Pennsylvania-based Great Lakes bulker operator Keystone Shipping has sent three of nine bulkers in its fleet into layup due to a major decline in demand, reports Duluth News Tribune.
Keystone Shipping’s subsidiary Key Lakes will lay up its 27,100 dwt Philip R Clarke, 75,400 dwt Edgar B Speer and 47,300 dwt Roger Blough until the demand for bulk cargo shipping on the Great Lakes returns.
Additionally, the company has also laid off 94 employees in order to cut operating costs.
“Key Lakes was unable to provide a greater amount of advance notice of these layoffs, due to unforeseeable business circumstances relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the economic decline relating to that pandemic,” Tim Callahan, senior accounting officer of Keystone Shipping said in a letter sent to the mayor of Duluth, where the company is based.
The Lake Carrier’s Association wrote in its latest report that Great Lakes shipments of iron ore tallied 4m tons in June, a decline of almost 30% year on year, as a number of mines and taconite plants are still idled.