Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Port of Indiana Burns Harbor breaks with tradition, first ocean vessel of the season not carrying imported steel

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The first ocean vessel of 2017 arrived at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor on Wednesday, marking the official opening of the international shipping season.

Port officials welcomed the 413-foot general cargo carrier BBC Mont Blanc--which broke tradition by not carrying a cargo of imported foreign steel to the country’s steelmaking capital--and presented the captain with the Ports of Indiana “Steel Stein.”

“The arrival of the first ocean ship of the new year is an exciting time not only for our port, but also for our port companies and numerous other regional businesses that rely on the cargoes these vessels carry,” Port Director Ian Hirt said. “For northwest Indiana, the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway each spring is always a symbol of optimism because it reestablishes a direct connection to global markets and new business opportunities.”

The Mont Blanc’s cargo of nearly 900 tons of wind turbine tower sections--shipped from Marin, Spain--will be unloaded over the next two days by port stevedore Federal Marine Terminals, the heavy-lifting to be done by 30 members of the International Longshoremen's Association and International Union of Operating Engineers. The tower sections will eventually be transported to a wind farm in Illinois.

Built in 2011, the Mont Blanc is flagged to Antigua and Barbuda and owned by the German shipping company Bresie Schiffahrts Gmgh Co KG. The crew of 15 is skippered by Capt. Nikolay Gombalevsky, a native of Russia, whose next port of call will be Thunder Bay, Ontario, where the Mont Blanc will discharge a large transformer and related components.

As part of the annual tradition, Hirt presented Capt. Gombalevsky with the “Steel Stein,” commemorating Indiana's identity as the “Steel Capital of North America.” The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is recognized as one of the top steel ports in the country for inbound and outbound shipments of steel-related products, and is also home to many companies providing critical metal services.

“The port's ability to handle heavy-lift and large-dimensional cargoes, known as project cargoes, is well established and shipments were up nearly 25 percent in 2016,” the Port said. “Maritime operations at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor generate nearly $4.9 billion per year in economic activity and support more than 39,000 total jobs. The port handled nearly 2.6 million tons of cargo in 2016 completing the highest three-year total in the port's history.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened its locks to ocean vessels for the 59th navigation season on March 20 after closing in late December.

 

 

Posted 4/13/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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