Port of Monroe and partners strengthen Great Lakes short sea shipping network
Port of Monroe and partners strengthen Great Lakes short-sea-shipping network
MONROE, MI – The Port of Monroe (Port) recently commissioned a new Manitowoc crawler crane. Its first job was to load approximately 400 tons of special bar quality (SBQ) steel onto Interlake Steamship Company’s M/V Paul R. Tregurtha, the largest ship sailing the Great Lakes.
The crane was purchased with funds through the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Marine Highway program. MARAD designated the Port of Monroe as part of Marine Highway Route M-90 in 2016. As a Marine Highway, the Port and its stakeholders are committed to developing and expanding marine highway service options in the United States to expand the use of America’s navigable waterways.
This latest cargo evolution is a perfect example of how the Port is working with its industry partners and local stakeholders to create new short-sea-shipping opportunities on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system.
“Every ton counts. Though small by volume, the enormity of this cargo evolution rivals anything that the Port has done in the last decade,” said Capt. Paul C. LaMarre, Port Director, Port of Monroe. “This trial cargo is the epitome of U. S. flagged, short sea shipping on the Great Lakes.”
The Port’s industrial partner and neighbor Gerdau Special Steel was looking for the most economical way to move SBQ manufactured in Monroe to their grinding ball mill in Duluth, Minnesota. The SBQ is used as a feedstock to manufacture grinding balls used in the mining industry.
The Tregurtha, one of the Port’s most frequent visitors, was identified as the perfect vessel to move the SBQ as it is on a dedicated route between Monroe and the twin ports of Duluth/Superior. The cargo was efficiently transported on an all-marine route, through the Soo Locks, saving at least 13,000 highway miles and 275 driving hours in truck resources on America’s congested roadways.
The port’s diversity will continue to grow through collective stakeholder efforts, a new heavy-lift crane and continued use of congestion-free Great Lakes marine highway routes.