Grain News


Port of Duluth-Superiorís Last Ocean Vessel of the Season Departs, Makes Way Through the St. Lawrence Seaway System

Date Posted: December 19, 2005

Duluth, MN-óThe Port of Duluth-Superiorís last ocean vessel of the season departed early Dec. 19 and will now make her way speedily through the St. Lawrence Seaway system to meet the midnight closings scheduled December 24 and December 26 respectively for the Montreal-Lake Ontario and Welland sections.

Great Lakes vessel traffic in the Port should continue for almost another month, with the fixed closing date for the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, MI, set for midnight January 15.

The British West Indies-flagged Federal St. Laurent completed loading about 3,000 metric tons of durum wheat and 19,000 metric tons of non-GMO beans, both destined for Finland, at AGP Grain, Limited, Duluth, then exited at 1:59 a.m. Dec. 19 via the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.

Her sister vessel, the British West Indies-flagged Federal Rhine, was the next to last ocean vessel to depart with an earlier start through the system.

She completed loading about 22,000 metric tons of spring wheat destined for Venezuela at Superiorís CHS grain facility Sunday (December 18), exiting via the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 7:28 p.m. that day.

ďThe vessels must now make their way without mishap or delay through the system on their race to the ocean, transiting the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway prior to midnight on December 24 and the Welland Canal section prior to midnight on December 26 to avoid possible operational surcharges upwards of $20,000 per day,Ē said Dan Sydow, president of Fedmar International, local vessel agency for the Portís last two oceangoing vessels.

The U.S. and Canadian Seaway Corporations announced operational surcharges are waived up until those deadlines, but transits after that time, if permitted, are subject to prior written agreement with the Corporationsí St. Lambert office.

Irrespective of operating conditions and written agreements, all vessels must be clear of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section by midnight December 29 and the Welland Canal by midnight December 30.

Duluth-Superior to the Atlantic Ocean--2,342 miles--is typically a weekís sailing time.

Grain exports are a vital component of the Portís economic makeup, representing about 30 percent of the $2 billion worth of cargo transshipped via Port of Duluth-Superior docks annually.

According to the Farm Service Administration, about 166,000 metric tons of wheat and beans (six transshipment laker vessel loads) were rerouted this season through the Port of Duluth-Superior from the Mississippi River due to hurricane damage along the Gulf Coast.

Coupled with a strong fall wheat harvest, Port grain exports were boosted more than seven percent above last yearís level.

The 656-foot Federal St. Laurent was built in 1996 at the Jiangnan Shipyard, Shanghai.

She is operated by Fednav International, Ltd., Montreal.

Local agent for the vessel is Fedmar International, Duluth, and the stevedore is Ceres, Inc., Duluth.

The 656-foot Federal Rhine was built in 1997.

Shipyard, operator, local agent and stevedore are the same as for her sister vessel.

The Portís final Seaway departure last season occurred December 17, 2004, with the departure of the Gibraltar-flagged Ostkap.

The Portís latest Seaway departure since the systemís 1959 opening occurred December 22, 1984, with the exit of the Liberian-flagged Federal Calumet.

AGP Grain has the distinction of loading the last ocean ship for this and the past six seasons (with the Ostkap, Spar Ruby, Lake Ontario, Spar Garnet, Lake Champlain and Lady Hamilton).

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