Coast guard icebreakers are out weeks early near Duluth.
Single digit temperatures have nearly solidified parts of Lake Superior and slowed the multi-billion dollar shipping on the great lakes.
A path through the ice is essential for great lakes shipping, which can move 15 to 20 percent of its annual total cargo during the ice season.
Phillips Willink says, "the concern for a lot of the commercial shippers is that they simply can't get their boats in and out to transfer goods."
Willink says the ice can actually benefit the lake.
It acts like a blanket and traps the water in the lake, preventing it from evaporating away