Peters Tours of Port of Monroe with Acting CBP Commissioner and Port Leaders


MONROE, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today toured the Port of Monroe with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, including Acting Commissioner Troy Miller, and Port of Monroe leaders to assess current operations and discuss resolving ongoing cargo clearance challenges the port faces. In recent years, the Port of Monroe has been restricted by CBP’s Detroit Field Office from accepting international break bulk cargo and prohibited the port from accepting international maritime containers, unless the port invested in significant and costly screening technology and infrastructure upgrades. Other Great Lakes ports have reported not being subjected to the same restrictions, which undermines Michigan’s economic competitiveness. As Chairman of the Committee that oversees CBP, Peters has long pressed CBP for answers on why there are these unequal requirements, and advocated for the Port of Monroe to be held to the same standards as other ports in the region.


“I appreciated today’s opportunity to show Acting Commissioner Miller and other Customs and Border Protection officials how the Port of Monroe is working to deliver critical products to families and businesses across Michigan and the Great Lakes region. We were able to see firsthand how Director Paul LaMarre and his leadership team are investing in stronger security screening and infrastructure so they can expand operations,” said Senator Peters. “Acting Commissioner Miller and I discussed how we can work together to resolve longstanding issues, that limit Michigan’s economic competitiveness and raise questions about whether these screening rules are truly effective and based on risk. We also discussed the economic engine of the Great Lakes and how expanded cargo services could increase economic activity for the region and the nation. I’ll continue fighting to ensure Michigan’s ports are treated fairly and have the resources necessary to ensure our state can continue to serve as a hub for international commerce.”


“The unrelenting advocacy of Senator Peters and the support of his legislative team has served as the fuel propelling the Port of Monroe to reach its potential as Michigan’s first maritime container terminal. The Senator’s deckplates leadership has never been more apparent than during this visit,” said Paul LaMarre, Director of the Port of Monroe. “Acting Commissioner Miller’s presence in our community and footsteps upon our dock represent USCBP’s commitment to ensure that the Port of Monroe, and all Michigan Ports, will be open for business as we strive to sustain the ‘Great Lakes State’s’ economic vitality during this challenging time. Following this meeting it is imperative that Michigan’s CBP leadership finds ways to ensure that Michigan’s Ports receive equitable allocations of personnel, tools, and technology as Senator Peters’ has continually legislated for their enhanced resources.”


During the visit Peters, Miller and other CBP officials met with the Port of Monroe’s leadership team to discuss the ongoing challenges and what additional resources are required to ensure that incoming cargo is safe and secure, assure reliable and consistent service, boost operations, and expand their capabilities to provide increased cargo services throughout the Great Lakes region. They also toured the Port’s existing facilities and discussed planned upgrades to ensure the Port can handle additional types of cargo.


In his role on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has fought to support Michigan’s ports, especially the Port of Monroe, and ensure they receive fair treatment. He recently announced the Port of Monroe received a federal grant to help upgrade cargo screening infrastructure. A bipartisan measure coauthored by Peters was signed into law requiring federal officials to assess all ports of entry, including finding ways to reduce wait times for passengers and cargo at the border. Peters has repeatedly pressed CBP on why the Port of Monroe is being held to standards that are not applied to other ports in the region. Peters recently published an op-ed, outlining the importance of making sure Michigan’s economic competitiveness is not being undercut by unfair policies or practices. Peters also helped secure a $1.1 million federal grant for the Port of Monroe to expand its maritime commerce operations. In 2019, Peters authored legislation to authorize CBP to hire 600 additional CBP Officers each year until needs identified in the workload staffing model are met.



State Lawmakers Champion Trade at Ports

Since 2016, The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has imposed restrictions on Michigan’s ports, adversely impacting the state’s economy and trade practices. To bounce back from the effects of COVID-19 and increase trade at the Port of Monroe, Michigan’s state senators have adopted a resolution calling for equitable treatment among ports that handle imported and exported cargo. State Senator Stephanie Chang stated, “As our economy works to rebound from the COVID019 pandemic, this harmful restriction must be removed, and our ports ought to be treated like others in the nation.”

This resolution allows more ships to pass through the Port of Monroe, thus bolstering the job market, lowering costs for local Michigan business and consumers and repositioning the port as a fierce competitor in the industry. Its benefits also reach beyond just the Port of Monroe, brining opportunities for other ports in Southeast Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes State, ensuring Michigan stays a hub for international commerce.

Read the Full Article: Here

Peters Announces Port of Monroe Awarded $770,983 Grant to Help Upgrade Cargo Screening Infrastructure


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today announced the Port of Monroe has been awarded a $770,983 Port Security Grant from the Department of Homeland Security to help upgrade their cargo screening infrastructure. The funding will allow the port to install a Radiation Portal Monitor, which helps to screen cargo for the presence of nuclear or radiological materials. This will enhance the port’s ability to ensure that incoming cargo is safe and secure, boost operations, and could expand their capabilities to provide increased cargo service throughout the Great Lakes region.


“Congratulations to Director Paul LaMarre and the Port of Monroe on receiving this vital funding. The Port of Monroe serves as an indispensable resource to manufacturers in Michigan and across the Great Lakes region. This critical investment will help the port grow and deliver the products that businesses and families rely on each day,” said Senator Peters. “This funding, which will help the Port of Monroe ensure shipments are safe and secure, is an important step to aid their efforts to expand, begin accepting additional types of cargo, and support jobs and grow the economy in Southeast Michigan. I’ll continue fighting to put Michigan ports on a level playing field so we can ensure our state remains a hub for international commerce.”


“The receipt of this critical grant funding confirms that the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, and FEMA are aligned and supportive to promote the safe, efficient, and secure movement of containerized cargo through the Port of Monroe. Senator Peters’ unrelenting fight to ensure the Port’s continued growth and economic importance to our region has never been more evident,” said Paul LaMarre, Director of the Port of Monroe.  “As Senate Homeland Security Chairman, Senator Peters is ensuring that vital security funding is making it home to Michigan in support of expanded economic opportunities. This grant places the Port of Monroe in full compliance with the SAFE Port Act and in turn, should allow U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to fulfill their mission of enhancing our nation’s economic prosperity.”


In his role on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has supported funding for the Port Security Grant Program and has fought to support Michigan’s ports, especially the Port of Monroe, and ensure they receive fair treatment. A bipartisan measure coauthored by Peters was signed into law requiring federal officials to assess all ports of entry, including finding ways to reduce wait times for passengers and cargo at the border. Peters also repeatedly pressed U.S. Customs and Border Protection on why the Port of Monroe is being held to standards that are not applied to other ports in the region. Peters also recently published an op-ed, outlining the importance of making sure the economic competitiveness of Michigan and other Great Lakes states is not being undercut by unfair policies or practices. Peters also helped secure a $1.1 million federal grant for the Port of Monroe to expand its maritime commerce



The Three-peat Port: The Biggest Little Port – Port of Monroe Wins Pacesetter Award in 2018, 2019 & Now 2020

The Three-peat Port: The Biggest Little Port

Port of Monroe Wins Pacesetter Award in 2018, 2019 & Now 2020


Monroe, MI. (June 8, 2021) – The Port of Monroe navigates the 2021 Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Navigation Season with accolades and momentum from 2020.


Accolades for the Biggest Little Port

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, recently awarded the Port of Monroe a 2020 navigation season Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award, which recognizes their efforts in increasing international Seaway cargo during the 2020 navigation season. The Port of Monroe received the Pacesetter Award six times out of the last eight seasons beginning in 2012, with consecutive awards in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“The 2020 Pacesetter Award is truly a testament to the Port of Monroe’s resilience. We’re exceptionally proud to receive the Pacesetter Award because it is symbolic of the work ethic and professionalism of the men and women that support the biggest little port. It is also a testament to the hard work and resilience of everyone at the Port, I’m proud of them, especially after persevering through the past 18 months of the global coronavirus pandemic.” said Paul C. LaMarre III, director of the Port of Monroe

“Congratulations to the Port of Monroe for its third consecutive Pacesetter Award,” said GLS Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook.  “The sustained level of high performance at the Port has positive economic implications for the City of Monroe, State of Michigan and maritime community across the system.” The Port of Monroe was one of only eight ports to receive the Pacesetter Award for the 2020 season.

From the 2018 Pacesetter Award Ceremony – Pictured Left to Right: Paul C. LaMarre III, Director, Port of Monroe; Dr. Arthur Sulzer, Founder, Maritime Academy Charter High School of Philadelphia & Advisory Board Member, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; Craig H. Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

As a testament to the Port’s continued success, the Port of Monroe is featured on the covers of two celebrated maritime publications, Know Your Ships 2021 and Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2021, as well as the cover of American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) 2021 Seaports of the Americas Directory.

Established in 1992, the SLSDC Pacesetter Award recognizes U.S. ports who have registered increases in international cargo tonnage shipped through their ports and through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Cargo Moves

With consecutive Pacesetter awards in 2018, 2019 and 2020, the Port of Monroe is moving in the right direction. Milestones include:

2018: Building Better Infrastructure

The 2018 season saw the first use of Port of Monroe’s new state funded Riverfront dock, which handled the first load of steel coils to Monroe and welcomed the liquid asphalt tanker IVER BRIGHT on her maiden voyage into the Great Lakes, carrying over 4,000 metric tons of liquid asphalt for Suncor.


2019: Moving the Largest International Shipment in the History of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System

The Port of Monroe’s noteworthy international inbound and outbound cargo handlings during the 2019 navigation season were crowned by a historic shipment. In October 2019, the Port of Monroe handled a generator stator for the Fermi II Nuclear Power Plant, which was the single most valuable piece of project cargo to ever move through the Seaway system. The Port also handled the original stator for the Fermi plant in 1976.


2020: Growing the Wind Energy Industry in America’s Heartland

In 2020, the port teamed up with Spliethoff Group’s BigLift Shipping and port tenant Ventower Industries to move, handle, and manufacture wind tower components for a large General Electric project. The heavy-lift vessel HAPPY RIVER was on a dedicated run between Monroe and Becancour, Quebec for most of the season delivering wind tower sections.

“2020 was one of the most prosperous navigation seasons in the port’s history,” said LaMarre. “That wasn’t the story that spanned the entire system, but one thing is for sure is that the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system is resilient. Now we are in a position to increase shipments in 2021. The Port of Monroe handled around 1.4 million metric tons in 2020. With the momentum from 2020, activity at the port continued through the winter into 2021, and as the world opens up from the pandemic, we expect to surpass tonnage year-over-year in 2021.” said LaMarre.


2020: Cargo Diversification


2020: Top Performing Cargo

Commodity Tonnage
(SHORT tons)
Coal & Petcoke 938,229
Limestone 344,562
Liquid Asphalt 137,421
Vessel/Bulk Product 64,386
Project Cargo 43,404


About the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership

The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership is a coalition of leading US and Canadian maritime organizations working to enhance public understanding of the benefits of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes Seaway region of North America. The organization manages an education-focused communications program, sponsors research and works closely with media, policy makers, community groups, allied industries, environmental stakeholders and the general public to highlight the positive attributes of marine transportation.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System is a marine highway that extends 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Approximately 143.5 million metric tons of cargo is moved across the System on an annual basis, supporting more than 237,868 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity.

For more information, please visit


Luck of the Lakes Raffle – 2020

You could win the trip of a lifetime or $10,000 cash!

Imagine yourself on the deck of a 1,000-foot freighter as it steams across the vast waters of Lake Superior. Pretend for a moment you’re watching a giant vessel work through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie. Envision a tour of the engine room and the pilothouse—something very few of the general public will ever see. Picture yourself tasting the world-famous Great Lakes Freighter meals specially prepared from an Interlake chef.

Can’t quite picture it? Unless you’ve taken a Great Lakes freighter trip, it can be hard to appreciate how incredible it really is. See for yourself by watching the short video below. If a freighter trip really isn’t for you, there is always the option to take $10,000 cash!

You simply have nothing to lose! This is your chance for a trip of a lifetime OR a $10,000 cash prize. PLUS, every cent earned goes to support our mission, to preserve and make known the history of the great lakes.

Now, more than ever, your support is vital.

Your purchase ensures our continued operations during these difficult times. With over $80,000 of lost revenue due to forced closure over the COVID-19 pandemic, your Luck of the Lakes raffle ticket supports the National Museum of the Great Lakes during an unprecedented time of need.

Raffle Details

Tickets can be purchased until noon on Saturday, September 26, 2020. The drawing is held the evening of Saturday, September 26, 2020 at our H2Oh! Gala.  You do not need to be present to win. There are three ways to enter:

  1. Purchase your raffle ticket(s) online.
  2. Download, complete, and mail back this entry form.
  3. Call the National Museum of the Great Lakes at 419.214.5000.

You could win:

  • GRAND PRIZE: Interlake Steamship Company Freighter Trip for 4-6 people for 4-6 days (or $10,000 cash)*
  • RUNNER UP: J.W. Westcott Trip – Deliver mail to freighters on the only floating zip code in the U.S. with 4-6 friends ($500 cash)**
  • THIRD PRIZE: 6 tickets for the 2021 Luck of the Lakes Raffle

* Interlake Freighter trip must be used in the 2021 season. Arrival and departure times may vary. Passengers must be 18 years of age, in good health, and able to negotiate a 45 ft. aluminum ladder to board most commercial vessels. Winners have the option to take $10,000 cash in replace of the freighter trip. 

** J.W. Westcott Day trip must be used in the 2021 season. In replace of the trip, winners may select a $500 cash prize.

NOTE: Raffle drawing date is subject to possible delays based on current community health conditions.

Sub M Progress – an Update

Source: MarineLink

Subchapter M, the United States regulatory code dealing with towing vessels and requirements for towing vessel safety, has officially been in place since July 20, 2016, when the U.S. Coast Guard finalized Sub M rulemaking.

Since the rules were finalized there have been a couple of important hammer dates. In spring and summer 2018 the first certificates of inspection (COI) were issued. COIs are central within the Sub M program. A vessel needs a COI to legally operate. (All vessels were required to comply with Sub M by July 20, 2018. The COI publicly denotes and registers that compliance.) A COI is valid for five years; then it needs to be renewed. Sub M also requires annual vessel inspections. The USCG’s inspection fee is $1,030 per vessel, billed annually.

A second important date occurred this past summer: July 22, when at least 25% of a company’s towing vessels were required to have valid COIs. On July 20, 2020, at least 50% of vessels must have COIs. This incremental approach continues to July 19, 2022, when 100% of impacted vessels need to be COI compliant.

On the one hand, this measured phase-in allows an orderly start to a program that the Coast Guard estimated in 2016 would “affect approximately 5,509 U.S. flag towing vessels engaged in pushing, pulling, or hauling alongside, and the 1,096 companies that own or operate [those vessels].”

But make no mistake, Sub M is a complex and complicated program for vessel owners, the Coast Guard and newly allowed third party operators (TPO) who function as a kind of proxy for the USCG. TPOs can issue COIs (although, upon review, the USCG can overrule a TPO’s work). The TPO option was included in Sub M to provide an alternate pathway for compliance. The TPO provision greatly expanded the personnel and resources available to implement – by deadline – Sub M’s extensive and expansive demands.

As the Sub M program approaches its next July deadline Marine News checks in, to get at least a high-level perspective about how implementation is proceeding.

The Coast Guard’s public information on Sub M startup is a bit scattered, and sparse. There are no public-facing websites, for example, with summary information on vessels inspected, or total COIs issued.

In response to Marine News’ questions, the USCG’s Sub M team had only rather general replies.

Thomas “Scott” Kuhaneck is on the Coast Guard’s Domestic Commercial Vessel Compliance Staff. He said that “as with any new program, there are going to be some growing pains.” He mentioned three areas that needed some smoothing out: vessel audits using the TSMS option; enforcement for harbor assist vessels; and deficiencies in record keeping and reporting, again for vessels using the TSMS option. TSMS refers to “towing safety management system,” an opt-in provision that provides a bit more program flexibility.

Kuhaneck said approximately 1,500 COIs have been granted so far, or 27% of EPA’s estimated 5,509 vessels. That’s an important metric: Sub M is on track.

In response to a question about Sub M and USCG resources, Kuhaneck said, “There have been no issues that I am aware of relating to a lack of personnel or resources.”

Top goals for 2020, Kuhaneck said, are to get to the required 50% level for COIs and bringing single vessel owner/operators into the program. Small operators were given extra time at startup; their initial deadline was 2020, not 2019.

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) is the national trade association for the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry. AWO’s Responsible Carrier Program served as a model for Sub M development.

AWO is laser-focused on Sub M and regularly updates its members. Last February, an AWO survey showed that the average COI processing time was two to three months. Priority concerns for members included casualty notification and investigation and requirements pertaining to machinery and electrical systems and equipment. AWO members preferred the TPO option.

Caitlyn Stewart is AWO’s Senior Director for Regulatory Affairs. In her report to AWO members she references an issue that emerged from the February survey: industry concerns about official communications across Captain of the Port Zones, communications to ensure consistent decision-making among OCMIs – officers in charge of marine inspections. Indeed, from recent discussions with company representatives, this is still a common concern.

In October, in a meeting with AWO, the Coast Guard presented summary data regarding vessel deficiencies and detentions from July to September (the government shutdown at the start of 2019 slowed Sub M’s progress).

Of 655 deficiencies, the highest number – 122 – related to the main propulsion engine or propulsion and auxiliary machinery. Thirty-three deficiencies were due to structural conditions, and 21 were related to navigation safety. Other concerns included lifebuoys, lifejackets, firefighting equipment and appliances, and related fire safety requirements. Seven of nine towing vessels detained during this period had excessive oily water in the bilge and/or engine room.

More recently, Sub M was a priority topic at AWO’s annual Midwest, Ohio Valley and Southern Regions’ meeting in January in New Orleans. After the meeting, Stewart was asked to update some of the members’ concerns. Again, she cited the issue of trying to meet Sub M requirements that can be interpreted and applied differently in different Captain of the Port zones.

In discussions, individual towboat operators also highlighted this cross-zone issue.

Consider comments from Gregg Thauvette, VP Operations, Sales & Marketing for the Great Lakes Towing Company, based in Cleveland. Great Lakes operates more than 30 tugs stationed in 12 different Great Lakes ports, territory that includes four different CG Sectors and nine CG Stations.

Thauvette’s operations clearly demonstrate industry’s inter-zone concerns. A tug from Cleveland, for example, may be repositioned to Toledo, thereby moving from Coast Guard Sector Buffalo to Sector Detroit. Thauvette commented that “the interpretation of the requirements of Subchapter M from one Coast Guard Sector or Coast Guard Station to the next can vary significantly,” leading to “confusion for both the Coast Guard and industry.”

To standardize implementation, Thauvette suggests that Sub M decision making authority needs to be more centralized. He proposes that CG leadership should choose one Sector to be the “law of the land”, so to speak.

The Towing Company has met Sub M’s initial goal: 25% of its vessels had COIs by the June 2019 deadline and the company is on schedule to meet the 50% requirement. But it hasn’t been easy, and scheduling inspections is challenging. Thauvette commented, however, “that (our TPO) and our local USCG have been very accommodating. There has been a real sense of ‘we are all in this together’ at this level.”

Another concern that emerged from AWO’s January regional meeting pertains to equitable compliance, or more bluntly, that some operators may be skirting the program. Central to this is what the COI number count actually means. Recall that by July 22, last year, 25% of a company’s vessels needed a COI. That’s not the same as 25% of all vessels on a waterway.

AWO’s Stewart said the CG is working to clarify COI numbers. There could be a mismatch between total vessels with COIs in a port versus COIs granted to singular operators. Consider: in a port zone with 100 vessels 25 may have a COI. Yes, that’s 25%. But if eight vessels are owned by one company, five owned by a second and 12 are owned by two or three other companies, that aggregate total doesn’t mean that 25% of each company’s fleet has a COI – Sub M’s fundamental demand.

Mary McCarthy is Director of Safety and Quality Systems for Canal Barge Company, Inc., based in New Orleans.

For Canal Barge, “startup was pretty much what we expected and planned for,” McCarthy said, “mostly because the industry and the Coast Guard had collaborated on the regulation for a decade.”

She cited three issues: again, initial challenges across different Coast Guard sectors and different COI application requirements. A second concerned a USCG Policy Letter regarding whether certain inspection decals would remain valid, thereby satisfying a COI inspection requirement. Third, initial uncertainties about returning a vessel to service after an accident.

For Canal Barge, McCarthy said “these issues have mostly been resolved due to continued open dialogue between industry and the Coast Guard.”

David Orme is Chief Operating Officer with Carlisle & Bray Enterprises, a full services marine company with 23 vessels based in Covington, Ky., across from Cincinnati on the Ohio River. Orme said Sub M startup has proceeded smoothly. The company has been able to align the inspection process with C&B’s operational needs, and half the company’s vessels are in compliance with Sub M. C&B works with the CG for COI inspections.

Orme commented that Sub M’s annual inspection fees are rather excessive given the “substantial costs already associated with maintaining equipment consistent with requirements and costs associated with downtime/loss of production.” He suggests an inspection every five years unless a company has a history of violations.

Orme suggests a re-look at other Sub M regs. He questions, for example, whether the same requirements should apply for brown water operations versus blue water. But he expects Sub M to evolve “as experience and common sense are evaluated and applied.”

Sub M progresses in waters that aren’t yet placid, but surely navigable. But keep watch: revised inspection fees are on the horizon. We’ll update.


Historic International Shipments Earn Port of Monroe 2019 Pacesetter Award

The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership applauds the Port of Monroe for earning a 2019 navigation season Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award, which recognizes their efforts in increasing international Seaway cargo during the 2019 navigation season. The Port of Monroe received the Pacesetter Award five times out of the last seven seasons beginning in 2012.

“Above all else, it is important to the Port of Monroe and myself to be a leader and contributor in the broader Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System. We are proud to receive the award, but we’re also proud of the other Great Lakes ports receiving the award because we will succeed or fail as a system,” said Paul C. LaMarre III, director of the Port of Monroe. “The 2019 Pacesetter Award is truly a testament to the Port of Monroe’s resilience. We’re exceptionally proud to receive the Pacesetter Award because it is symbolic of the work ethic and professionalism of the people who breathe life into this place.”

“If you build the relationship, the cargo will come”

The Port of Monroe’s noteworthy international inbound and outbound cargo handlings during the 2019 navigation season were crowned by a historic shipment. In October 2019, the Port of Monroe handled a generator stator, which is the single most valuable piece of project cargo that ever moved through the Seaway system.

For almost two years, the Port of Monroe worked hand in hand with General Electric and DTE to plan the move and construct a new on-dock, heavy lift rail spur before the M/V Happy Ranger delivered the stator from Rotterdam, Netherlands to Monroe, Michigan. That very same ship was then loaded with 42 wind tower segments manufactured at Ventower, a wind energy manufacturing company based in Monroe, and shipped to Peru, exemplifying what can only be described as “logistics perfection.”

Port of Monroe generator move in 1976

For LaMarre, the movement of the component represents the Port of Monroe coming full circle, paying homage to the Port’s movement of similar cargoes in the late 1970s. “It was a win on all levels. It achieved an investment in port infrastructure, the development of new and valuable cargo through the Seaway and benefited the community that we call home,” said LaMarre.


In addition to the Seaway-wide historic shipment, the Port of Monroe also celebrated their own momentous achievement. For the first time ever, three vessels unloaded at the same time on three separate docks. The “Queen of the Lakes”, the M/V PAUL R. TREGURTHA, unloaded at DTE’s Monroe Powerplant, the M/V GAGLIARDA unloaded Egyptian salt at the Port’s Riverfront Dock, and the Barge DELAWARE and Tug CALUSA COAST unloaded liquid asphalt at the Port’s Turning Basin Dock.





Source: Great Lakes Seaway Partnership

Walberg Supports Great Lakes Restoration, Infrastructure, and Jobs

Washington, D.C. – Today, with Congressman Tim Walberg’s support, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 7575, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, a bipartisan bill that provides improvements for Michigan’s ports, locks, ecosystem restoration, and other waterway infrastructure projects. H.R. 7575 also includes provisions to combat harmful algal blooms, support the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and authorize construction of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to prevent the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.

“Maintaining and improving our water infrastructure is critical for Michigan’s jobs and ability to generate economic growth. In particular, it will help facilitate commerce at the Port of Monroe and ports throughout our state,” said Walberg. “Passage of this bipartisan legislation is also a big win for the long-term health of the Great Lakes. By combating threats like algal blooms and Asian Carp, we are taking significant steps to preserve this treasured resource for future generations to enjoy.”

Great Lakes shipping stays afloat amid COVID-19

Source: The Detroit News

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many sectors of the economy, but Great Lakes shipping appears to be mostly staying afloat.

The federal government’s St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. released a report Thursday showing total tonnage of goods down 8.4% in the first half of this year, but U.S. and Canadian grain up 3.3% from a year ago.

Iron ore, steel and iron shipments are down from last year but started to rebound last month with month-over-month increases.

The freighter Algoterra moves up the Detroit River against a vibrant sunrise near Wyandotte in this June 27, 2019, file photo.
“Through June, we saw shipments stabilizing, with traditional Seaway cargos including grain and steel on an uptick,” said Craig H. Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., in a release. “General cargo tonnage continues to be strong, attributable in large part to increasing movement of wind turbine components.”

Overall tonnage was at 11.7 million metric tons, down 8.4% compared to this time last year, according to the report. U.S. and Canadian grain was at 3,554,000 metric tons this year, a 3.3% increase.

Dry bulk cargo was down 9.9% compared to last year and includes coke, stone, cement and clinkers, ores and concentrates and pig iron. Iron ore was down 14% compared to this time last year.

The top-performing commodities were grain, salt, gypsum, steel slab and asphalt.

Sri Talluri, professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University, said the report is good news. He said he attributes the freight activity in part to Europe and Asia flattening the curve with respect to COVID-19.

“So certainly recovery is unfolding in those parts of the world,” he said. “Also, given that the trajectory of the disease is quite different in different parts of the U.S., it might be helping as well.”

The Port of Monroe is among eight American ports across five Great Lakes states to handle shiploads of wind-related components. The domestic side of the port had a slow start to the season in April with the temporary shutdown of heavy industry, but picked up in May, said Paul C. LaMarre III, the director of the Port of Monroe, the state’s only seaport on Lake Erie.

The port’s international shipments are largely project-driven. The port is working with Spliethoff Group’s BigLift Shipping and Ventower Industry to move, handle and manufacture wind towers for a General Electric project in Isabella County.

The Port of Monroe is handling the tower section, machine heads and the hubs, LaMarre said, adding that the wind project “has had us exceptionally busy.”

“We’re having the most fruitful season in the port’s history,” he said. “That isn’t necessarily the story that is spanning the entire system, but one thing is for sure is that the Great Lake’s St. Lawrence Seaway System is resilient.”

Work continues on at the port with workers socially distancing, wearing masks, taking temperatures and looking out for one another, LaMarre said.

“That has kept us in a position where we really haven’t missed a beat,” he said. “It’s allowed us to be efficient, safe and to this point, very successful despite some very challenging circumstances.”

Pandemic Response

Source: Great Lakes Seaway Review – Volume 48 – Number 4 – April-June 2020

As the supply chain goes, DTE Energy in Monroe, Michigan was impacted by the loss of regional manufacturing. Demand for power decreased, leading
the company to reduce operation to one of four generating units. Coal and limestone deliveries to the Port of Monroe were cancelled. Decreased power generation led to a loss of the byproducts synthetic gypsum and bottom ash which export from the port. With the plant now operating at full power, business at the Monroe port has increased, which positively impacts Midwest Energy Resources, Interlake Steamship Company, Grand River Navigation, to name a few. “It is our resilience Paul LaMarre III which will define our 2020 shipping season as a whole,” said Paul LaMarre III, Monroe port Director, noting that the port is already on track to handle the most international/Seaway cargo in its history. “Because the port is home to Ventower Industries, which is one of only four wind tower manufacturers in the United States, we are well positioned to be a multimodal congregation and distribution hub for wind components manufactured at Ventower and elsewhere.” This season, BigLift’s Happy River will call on the port every eight days to deliver wind turbine sections from Becanour, Quebec.