A ship docks at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. Cargo at the port fell to 2.7 million tons last year, down from 2.8 million tons the previous year. Staff file photo by John J. Watkins
A ship docks at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. Cargo at the port fell to 2.7 million tons last year, down from 2.8 million tons the previous year. Staff file photo by John J. Watkins
Cargo on the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor fell to 2.7 million tons in 2018, down from 2.8 million tons the previous year.

Tonnage at the deepwater port on Lake Michigan in Porter County was still up 22 percent from the 10-year average, Ports of Indiana spokeswoman Shelley Triol said.

"At the end of 2018, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor set a new record for the highest five-year total in the port’s 49-year history — over 14 million tons total, with 5 straight years over 2.6 million tons for the first time ever," she said.

Despite the Section 232 tariffs of 25 percent on all foreign-made steel, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor posted its second highest steel cargo volume ever, up 70 percent over the 10-year average.

"Tonnage increases occurred in road salt, slag, fertilizer, and steel, with limestone and agricultural products continuing to be major commodities at the port," Triol said.

Last year, the Port of Milwaukee shipped about 2.39 million tons, down from about 2.57 million tons the previous year.

The Port of Chicago, the largest port on the Great Lakes, which also handles barges on the Illinois River to the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico, handled more than 19 million tons of cargo in 2017, the most recent year for which data was available.

Overall, the Ports of Indiana system, which includes two ports on the Ohio River, handled a record 14.8 million tons last year, eclipsing the previous record in 2015 by 21 percent.

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