Maritime shipping season reaching an end

The Soo Area Office-based tug Owen M. Frederick was breaking ice in and to the upper approach of the Poe Lock while the 1,000 footer M.V. Walter J. MC Carthy Jr. waits to move forward.

The Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., will close Tuesday, ending the vast majority of Great Lakes maritime traffic for the 2018-2019 season.

Eight freighters are scheduled for winter layup in the Port of Duluth-Superior. Algoma’s Tim S. Dool arrived on New Year’s Day and is already in dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior. The remaining seven will arrive this weekend or early next week. The vessels and their winter berths are:

  • H. Lee White – Fraser Shipyards
  • American Century – Enbridge Dock
  • American Spirit – Fraser Shipyards
  • Mesabi Miner – Midwest Energy
  • Kaye E. Barker – Fraser Shipyards
  • Lee A. Tregurtha – Fraser Shipyards
  • Burns Harbor – Elevator “M” Dock

“The Port of Duluth-Superior is ending the shipping season on a strong note,” Deb

DeLuca, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director, said in a news release. “Through November, grain volume was up 22 percent over last year, and shipments of Minnesota iron ore were outpacing the five-year average by over 25 percent. While coal loadings have dropped significantly in recent years, iron ore shipments have picked up pace – already at 18.4 million short tons through November. With Great Lakes traffic continuing well into January, we anticipate the port’s overall tonnage tally will top 32 million tons to close out the 2018 shipping season.” 

The last oceangoing vessel of the 2018 season, the Federal Rhine, departed the Twin Ports on Dec. 15 to make her way through the Great Lakes-Seaway system before the St. Lawrence Seaway locks closed for the season at the end of December.