The maximum lakers are very large self-unloading vessels with a length of about 1,000 feet and a capacity averaging 60,000 tons (class 10). Examples include: Oglebay Norton - 1,000 feet, 71,000 ton capacity.
River vessels are those that can easily navigate a river like the Cuyahoga River. Generally these vessels are typically shorter than 635 feet (class 5) although last year a 698 foot vessel went up the Cuyahoga River at the end of the season when there was virtually no other traffic on the River. Examples include: Earl W. Oglebay - 630 feet, 20,000 ton capacity.
At an average cost of about $1000 per hour for a laker, the value of time savings mount up quickly.
At the Port of Lorain material is transhipped to smaller vessels for shipment up the Cuyahoga River. Lorain is a five hour shorter trip from the upper Great Lakes for a $5000 savings per laker. Howewver it then takes three smaller vessels to make the trip from Lorain to Cleveland for a total additional time of 15 hours. At a cost of $600 per hour for a river vessel, the added costs are $9000. The net cost savings of transhipping to the CBT, rather than Lorain, would be about $4000.