The Port of Monroe received a Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award, which is awarded by the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
The Port of Monroe has once again been honored for its work with handling international cargo.
The local port received a Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award, which is awarded by the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, for the 2018 navigation season. The Port of Monroe was one of eight ports to receive the recognition.
Paul LaMarre III, the director of the Port of Monroe, received the award recently during the SLSDC’s summer meeting. It was presented by Tom Lavigne, associate administrator of the SLSDC which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
LaMarre said the recognition wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of his team members.
“I wish the award could be chopped up into tiny pieces and that they could be given to everyone who has been a part of our success,” LaMarre said. “It is the daily grind of our team that has taken the Port of Monroe from a vacant field to a bustling seaport.”
The award is given to ports on the Great Lakes that register an increase in handling international tonnage. This is the fourth year that the Port of Monroe has received the honor. It was awarded one for its works during the 2017 and 2015 navigation seasons, as well as 2013.
“The fact that this is our fourth award in 6 years is not only representative of our growth, but also our resilience and diversity,” LaMarre said.
Though the 2019 season is still underway, LaMarre said the port has already completed the requirements to be on track to receive the award again next year.
A major component of the award was the port’s work with the Iver Bright, a ship that made its first Great Lakes voyage during the last season. The ship carried more than 4,000 tons of liquid asphalt for Suncor, a Canadian-based energy company.
The fact that the Iver Bright’s maiden seaway trip involved the Port of Monroe was highly impactful, LaMarre said, adding that the ship stayed on the Great Lakes during the winter months as it was an ice-class vessel. Its integration was a new development for the port, and the ship continues to work out of the Port of Monroe this season, according to LaMarre.
″(The ship) has essentially become one of our staple carriers,” LaMarre said.
The SLSDC’s also recognized the port’s use of its new state-funded dock. It was used for the handling of steel coils from Stelco, a steel company based in Ontario, Canada. The coils were for products in the automotive industry. The intermodal dock, a $3.6 million investment, saw its first ship, The Huron Spirit, in April 2018.
Although the coils didn’t factor into the port’s international tonnage, they were the first cargo handled at the dock, which will help with the port’s mission to grow its tonnage handling. It was a new cargo development, LaMarre said.
Tariffs on foreign steel caused that business to cease, LaMarre said, but the port is actively looking for ways to increase its opportunities in the steel market.
“The major benefit was not economics, but that we had the opportunity to prove ourselves with a new cargo that we handled very efficiently and safely,” LaMarre said. “Without the new dock, we wouldn’t have been able to handle that opportunity.”