Port of Duluth-Superior awaits arrival of 1st saltie of 2014 season; one more ice-related stat for record books
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Duluth, Minn. USA (May 7, 2014) - After hitting milestones for the longest stretch of freezing temps,
fastest/thickest ice cover, and third snowiest winter (so far), the Port of Duluth-Superior is preparing to finally welcome its very first oceangoing ship of the 2014 commercial shipping season tonight - the first saltie to have made a full transit of the 2,342-mile Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway.
The Diana, which flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, is now expected to arrive at about 8 p.m. this evening, having been delayed by ice transiting Lake Superior yesterday. The ship will sail in beneath Duluth's Aerial Bridge then proceed directly to the CHS grain elevator in Superior.
NOTE: All vessel arrival times are estimates and may change without notice.
"We witnessed the earliest arrival on record for a first saltie of the season last year: March 30, 2013. This year,
we're a week into May and just hitting that milestone," said Adele Yorde, PR Manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "While this will go down as the latest on record, the ice-encrusted start to the season can't dampen enthusiasm here in the Twin Ports." Boat watchers will head to the Duluth ship canal to wave and take photos as the first saltie sails in. And the maritime community will gather for an official, invitation-only First Ship Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Thurs. aboard the ship at CHS.
The Diana began her voyage by discharging cargo in Santos, Brazil, before proceeding to the Twin Ports. The 453-ft (138 meter) ship will load approximately 11,550 metric tons of wheat at the CHS elevator before departing for Algeria.
Built in 2007, this will be the ship's first visit to the Twin Ports. The Diana is under the command of Captain G. Panait. Local vessel agent is Daniel's Shipping Services; stevedoring is being handled by Ceres Terminals; tug
assistance is being provided by Great Lakes Towing Co.
Now that commercial navigation is almost back to normal on the Great Lakes, there are another half-dozen salties queued up and headed to Duluth-Superior to load wheat and beet pulp pellets this next week.
Historical Note: Until this week, the latest arrival of this Port's first saltie had been May 3, which happened in 1959 when the Ramon de Larrinaga arrived in Duluth - the very first saltie to have transited the St. Lawrence Seaway after it opened that year.
The Port of Duluth-Superior provides a valuable trade corridor, directly linking the heartland of North America to markets in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa. "This binational waterway enables farmers from the Upper Midwest - as well as shippers of coal, iron ore and project cargo - to compete globally," said Vanta Coda, Port Authority executive director. "Yet it is the grain trade that has historically made this an international seaport."
"It was a tough winter all around on the Lakes...and on the Upper Mississippi River. While the grain season is off to a late start, the international grain markets are quite dynamic and we should have a good export season," added Ron Johnson, Port Authority Trade Development Director. "We'd anticipate shipments to top last year's 1.3 million ton total."
The Port Authority has scheduled a First Ship Ceremony for Thurs. at 1:30 p.m. aboard the ship - an invitation-only event for community leaders and representatives from the maritime industry to welcome the captain and crew to the Twin Ports. Invited guests include: U.S. Coast Guard MSU Duluth Commander Alan Moore, Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen, Superior Port Director Jason Serck, Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Vanta Coda, among others. Gene Shaw, Visit Duluth director of public relations, will announce the
winner of the 2014 First Ship Contest, cosponsored by Visit Duluth and the Port Authority. [Of the nearly
1,200 entries received, just 27 entries guessed arrival dates within this first full week of May]
(As noted, due to homeland security regulations, the ceremony is an invitation-only event.)
Close to 1,000 ships visit the Port of Duluth-Superior each year, moving roughly 40 million tons of cargo - iron ore, coal, grain, limestone, cement, salt, plus project cargo and more. As the largest tonnage port on the Great Lakes-Seaway, cargo movements through the Port of Duluth-Superior support 11,500 jobs and contribute over $1.5 billion in business revenues to the local/regional economy.
For more information, www.duluthport.com
NOTE: All vessel arrival/departure times are estimates and may change without notice.
For updated times, please consult the Boatwatchers Hotline: (218)722-6489 or www.duluthboats.com
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