See the gorgeous freighters of the 2020 Interlake Steamship calendar


CLEVELAND, Ohio – Lakers are the stars of the Great Lakes.

The up-to-1,000-foot freighters are eye-catching, mesmerizing, romantic vestiges of industrial glory days. And we can’t get over their size, whether they’re powering through Lake Erie or pivoting around the hair-pin curves of the Cuyahoga River.

Interlake Steamship Co., which is based in Middleburg Heights and owns nine lakers, celebrates the beauty of the ships in its annual calendar.

Lakers — make up about 95 percent of freighter traffic on the Great Lakes — move about 4 million tons of iron ore in the nine months the lakes are clear of ice.

Much of it is unloaded onto the Port of Cleveland bulkhead terminal west of Whiskey Island, then transferred to slightly smaller, river-class ships that can navigate the river up to the ArcellorMittal steel mill, including the Buffalo and the Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder. (None of the boats are owned by the steel companies or the port.)

Ships make about 450 round trips on the Cuyahoga each year. Many of the ships are loaded with iron ore from Duluth, Minnesota.

The journey to Cleveland takes about 57 hours, at a top speed of 17 mph.

Want a calendar of your own? Interlake donated calendars to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. You can buy one at the museum for $9.95, plus shipping. To order, call 419-214-5000 extension 200, or go to the website at

You may also like

Leave a comment