2023-24 shipping season at the Port of Monroe defined by recognition and relationships

The Port of Monroe celebrates the close of the 2023/24 shipping season with its established partners and stakeholders, as well as the new partnerships and relationships that have been forged throughout the year. While the 2023 season did not result in overall tonnage increases for the port, it represented another year of success.

Mark W. Barker and the Mythos AI boat Archie.

In July, Port Director Paul C. LaMarre was elected president of the American Great Lakes Ports Association at the organization’s annual meeting. LaMarre also accepted the Port’s seventh Pacesetter award.

Through an innovative partnership with Newlab and Michigan Central in 2023, the Port is providing its facilities to test and scale new technology solutions in the transportation and zero-emission space. The Port’s relationship with Newlab and Michigan Central represents how a public port can engage with startup companies and emerging technologies.

The first pilot project with Newlab commenced in Fall 2023, when the Port partnered with Mythos AI on a hydrographic survey project. Mythos AI is an autonomous maritime technology company developing autonomous solutions for the maritime industry. The data collected by the Mythos vessel Archie will help the Port provide up-to-date information for waterway users.

In Fall 2023, the Port hosted “Heritage Days,” a one-of-a-kind event to celebrate the rich transportation history in Monroe County. The event was held for the community to celebrate the Port of Monroe and would not have been possible without support from sponsors and volunteers. The Port’s flagship, the Great Lakes Towing tug Georgia, was restored to its original name of America during the weekend festivities. Weeks later, the tug performed its first job with its restored name. The America is the oldest commercially operating tugboat in the world.

Check out the full Heritage Days gallery here!

Port Director Paul LaMarre with U. S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The possibilities the Port of Monroe offers has been recognized by many, included top government leadership.

In April 2023, the Port was fortunate to host Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on a tour that highlighted the Port’s role as a transportation hub for renewable energy cargo and the opportunities that the Michigan Maritime Gateway will bring to the entire State of Michigan.

In November, U. S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Monroe. The Port of Monroe was a recipient of the Port Infrastructure Development Program in 2022, which will provide funds for transformational infrastructure improvements.


A total of 2,432,844 short tons were received to facilities along the River Raisin during the 2023/24 shipping season.

The DTE Monroe Power Plant makes up a majority of that total. The plant received 1,748,541 tons of coal and petroleum coke, as well as 340,924 tons of limestone.

The Port and terminal operator DRM handled 72,577 tons of bulk and 141,065 tons of coiled steel products.

Michigan Paving & Materials received 129,407 tons of liquid asphalt to its Monroe storage and blending facility.


Happy Ranger discharges a transformer generator.

The Port welcomed back the Happy Ranger this season. The specialized heavy-lift vessel discharged a transformer directly to a rail car at the Port’s turning basin dock. The BigLift vessel previously called on the Port in 2019 to deliver a generator stator.

The most frequent visitor to the Port in 2023 was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes, the Paul R. Tregurtha. The Queen of the Lakes logged 28 trips to the DTE Monroe Power Plant. The American Century followed with 16.

The articulated tug/barge Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 made 11 trips to the Port, and the Harvest Spirit made 9.

Check out this page to see all the ships that visited the Port in 2023!

The 2024 shipping season will be a season of construction for the Port of Monroe. The Port has received over $30 million from local, state, and federal sources to rehabilitate existing facilities and build new infrastructure.

The Port plans to begin construction on its PIDP grant, the Lake Erie Renewable Energy Resilience project. It will include the rehabilitation of the turning basin dock and riverfront dock, the port’s two main vessel operation areas. It will also include the construction of a second riverfront dock and a small boat slip next to the Port’s main office. Finally, shore power will be installing along the riverfront.

The Port continues to develop the Michigan Maritime Gateway, which will be the first maritime container terminal in the State of Michigan when it opens. The terminal will utilize the equipment necessary to scan and inspect international shipping containers.

Both projects are separate but once complete will enhance the capabilities and efficiencies the Port of Monroe offers. Investment in existing operating areas and the construction of new spaces will allow the port to designate different areas for specific cargoes.

Tug George Gradel passing the Paul R. Tregurtha.

On the horizon
The port is in an excellent position at the conclusion of the 2023 season as infrastructure improvements will soon be underway to completely transform the Port’s operations. Regular activities will continue during the construction.

The Port’s groundbreaking partnership with Newlab and Michigan Central have barely scratched the surface of what is possible, but the relationship represents a global example of how a port can engage with startup companies and emerging technologies to influence innovation.

The Port will continue to pursue opportunities that will benefit the City of Monroe, Monroe County, State of Michigan, and Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway while promoting the environmental and economic advantages of Great Lakes shipping.

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