A loader scoops magnesite, a mineral commonly used in manufacturing, out of a barge in Burns Harbor. The magnesite came from China, and was placed on this barge in New Orleans. Now, it’ll be trucked from Indiana to Ohio. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

A semi-automated “laker” ship, the Stewart Cort, offloads iron ore at the steel-maker ArcelorMittal across from the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. At 1,000 feet, the Cort is confined to the Great Lakes; it was the first such ship put in service, in 1972. Arcelor stockpiles the heaps of ore seen here for the winter, when the Cort’s route from northern Minnesota to Burns Harbor will freeze over. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

Ratner Steel buys steel coils like this one from mills in Burns Harbor and beyond, to stretch, treat and stamp into new products. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

Workers at Ratner Steel prepare to lift a 20-ton steel coil off a flatbed truck, using a handheld remote and an overhead crane. Trucks at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor can carry more weight than trucks on public roads – three or four steel coils, instead of one. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

Burns Harbor cranes offload steel beams from the Federal Danube, a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel carrying cargo from Germany. Once empty, the Danube will cross into Lake Superior to pick up grain bound for Europe. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

The captain of the tugboat Arizona takes quick nap on the deck of his vessel while it awaits its next task. Great Lakes Towing built the Arizona in 1931. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)