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Federal Elbe is first saltie; 1st Ship Ceremony held today

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Duluth, Minn. USA - The Duluth Seaway Port Authority hosted a "First Ship Ceremony" aboard the Federal Elbe today, Wed., April 7, at 1 p.m. to welcome Captain Darius Malinowski and his crew to the Port of Duluth-Superior. The ship - the first "saltie" of the 2010 navigation season to have transited the full Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System - is docked and loading grain at the CHS terminal in Superior, Wis. 

The Cyprus-flagged Federal Elbe began her voyage in Italy and will be headed back loaded with nearly 23,700 short tons (21,500 mt) of durum wheat for pasta production. She made her way into the harbor at daybreak this morning, officially passing beneath the Aerial Bridge at 6:11:50 a.m. She had been at anchor outside the Duluth piers since Monday awaiting the departure of the Canadian laker J.W. Shelley from CHS. Loading began this morning and will continue tomorrow, with an anticipated late afternoon departure Thursday. Local vessel agent for the Federal Elbe is Daniel's Shipping Services.

Note:  High quality pasta is made out of 100 percent durum wheat. Durum is bred and developed specifically to have the right gluten strength and color for the best pasta consistency and taste. "Durum is produced primarily in North Dakota with an average yield of about 30 bushels per acre," notes Dave Torgerson, executive director, Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers. "This shipment to Italy represents about 26,000 acres of wheat produced by farmers in our neighboring state. We are about as far away from our export customers as any farmers in the US. But, with the Port of Duluth-Superior and the Seaway, we have a direct water link to markets around the world (in particular Europe and North Africa), which keeps transportation costs competitive and enables North Dakota and Minnesota farmers to compete globally." 

Community leaders and representatives from the maritime industry invited to participate in today's ceremony, include: Superior Mayor Dave Ross; Duluth Mayor Don Ness; Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority; Michael Jaros with Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers; and Gene Shaw, director of public relations for Visit Duluth, who announced the winner of this year's First Ship Contest - Lindsey Loften of North Branch, Minn. (her winning entry of 6:12 a.m. was just 10 seconds off the vessel's actual arrival time). The annual contest is co-sponsored by Visit Duluth and the Port Authority. 

The J.W. Shelley departed at 17:08 p.m. Tuesday with the Port's first grain shipment of season, approximately 28,200 short tons (25,600 mt) of spring wheat headed to Quebec. The arrival of this year's "first saltie" is about a week earlier than last year's arrival of the MV Medemborg (April 12); the Port's earliest recorded arrival of an oceangoing vessel was the Indian ship LT Argosy on April 1, 1995.

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