Port of Duluth-Superior welcomes 1st ‘saltie’ of 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Duluth, Minn. USA (April 13, 2015) The Port of Duluth-Superior welcomed its very first oceangoing ship of the 2015 commercial shipping season today. The Kom is the first ‘saltie’ to have made a full transit of the 2,342-mile Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. 

The Kom (pronounced with a long ‘o’ as in ‘comb’) sailed into port beneath Duluth’s Aerial Bridge at 12:12 p.m., then proceed to the Superior side of the harbor to load at two terminals – Gavilon Grain and CHS. Built in 1997, the 465-foot bulk carrier which flies the flag of Malta, began this voyage in LaCoruna, Spain. Here in the Twin Ports, the Kom will load a total of 12,100 metric tons of durum wheat, then depart for Italy, where the weat will be milled into flour for pasta-making.

The Kom is under the command of Captain Mariyan Yotov (pronounced ‘Maw-ree-yawn Yō-tōv’). Local vessel agent is Guthrie Hubner; stevedoring is being handled by Ceres Terminals; tug assists are being provided by Great Lakes Towing Co. 

Boat watchers will head to the Duluth ship canal to greet the ship and take photos as the first saltie sails in. An official, invitation-only First Ship Ceremony is now being planned for Wednesday morning. Historical Note: The latest arrival on record of this Port’s first saltie was just last year as the Diana arrived on May 7, 2014 (due to brutal ice conditions of an historic winter); ironically, the earliest on record happened just one year earlier when the Federal Hunter sailed into port on March 30, 2013. 

“The arrival of the first saltie each year is a tangible reminder for residents and tourists alike that the Port of Duluth-Superior is an international seaport,” said Vanta Coda, Port Authority executive director.  “Situated over 2300 miles inland, it anchors the westernmost edge of this nation’s fourth seacoast – the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway – which links 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 project cargo, iron ore and coal – to compete in the global marketplace.”

The First Ship Ceremony set for Wednesday morning aboard the ship is 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 representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, City of Superior Mayor’s office, Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers, Duluth Seaway Port Authority and other civic leaders. Gene Shaw, Visit Duluth director of public relations, will announce the winner of the 2015 First Ship Contest. Over 1,400 entries were received in this year’s contest, cosponsored by Visit Duluth and the Port Authority. (As noted, due to Homeland Security regulations, the ceremony is an invitation-only event.)

NOTE:  All vessel arrival times are estimates and may change without notice.


Close to 1,000 ships visit the Port of Duluth-Superior each year, moving roughly 38 million tons of cargo – iron ore, coal, limestone, grain, cement, salt, 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.

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