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Bill Radke: With the weather finally warming up, some shipping lanes in the Great Lakes have thawed out. The shipping industry has suffered in the recession along with everyone else, but Chicago Public Radio's Tony Arnold says there's hope for a busier 2010 around the Great Lakes.

Tom Arnold: The shipping industry is looking so good, the locks at Sault Saint Marie opened about a week early.

Jason Serck: Steel is just about everything.

Jason Serck is with the port in Superior, Wis. He says a healthier auto industry and more construction work is creating a bigger demand for steel. Something just about every port in the Great Lakes depends on.

Anthony Ianello heads the Illinois Port District. He sees industries that use raw products, like steel and iron ore, trying to replenish their reserves which they dipped into during the recession.

Anthony Ianello: Those entities that had stockpiles utilized their stockpiles for the last two year. So this may be a small uptick just with the replenishment of those stockpiles that need to be replaced.

But both Ianello and Serck agree: the big question is whether the orders can be sustained.

In Chicago, I'm Tony Arnold for Marketplace.