Port Of Monroe Earns Award For Cargo Work

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.”

 

Source: The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership

Port of Monroe

Shipping Milestone: Cargo Diversity Up Across Docks

The Port of Monroe is celebrating another milestone year.

This time it comes in the form of cargo diversity.

“The port is as vibrant as it ever has been despite rapid changes in cargo transportation,” port Director Paul C. LaMarre III said. “Cargo diversity across our docks is up.”

Despite some challenges early in 2018, the port continues to thrive. This shipping season saw the opening of the riverfront intermodal dock. The dock, a $3.6 million investment, saw its first ship in April. The Huron Spirit brought a load of steel coils for the automotive industry.

“We had an agreement to handle loads of steel coils, but only got that one shipment because of the steel tariffs,” LaMarre explained. “Effectively that business evaporated overnight.”

But LaMarre did not get discouraged.

“We are a nimble organization,” he said. “We adapt to change.”

LaMarre forged a deal with the Great Lakes Towing Co. and Great Lakes Shipyard to establish towing and shipyard services at the port.

As part of the partnership, Great Lakes Towing relocated the tug Wisconsin to the port to help with ship assistance. The tug is the oldest commercially operating tug boat in the world. It was built in 1897 in Buffalo, N.Y., by the Union Dry Dock Co.

International shipping returned to the port after a nearly two-year battle. International cargo was not able to call upon the port based on issues not related to the port.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government intervened and reopened international shipping to the Port of Monroe and the Port of Toledo.

During the 2014 shipping season, the port set tonnage records and nearly set another one the following season. LaMarre said this year the tonnage figures will be down, but the port’s diversification of cargo is up.

“ We continue to move a wide variety of cargo through the port,” he said. “ We are moving more gypsum on the dock and by rail.”

The port also is handling all the bottom ash from DTE Energy’s Monroe Power Plant, along with components for wind towers and natural gas pipeline sections.

LaMarre said this year the port’s season will continue through the winter due to a new development related to liquid asphalt.

The M/V Iver Bright, owned by Varoon, a company in the Netherlands, began calling on the port recently. The Iver Bright is an asphalt tanker that recently made its first voyage from Montreal to Monroe.

“The single voyage qualified the port for its fourth Seaway Pacesetter Award in six years,” LaMarre said.

The vessel is unique, La-Marre said, because it was built in 2012 and is an ice class vessel, meaning it can operate year-long.

“It will likely call upon the port all year, primarily between Sarnia, Ontario and Monroe,”

“When you couple our cargo activity with our industry leadership, it is evident that the port … continues to be seen as one of the most impactful ports on the Great Lakes,” LaMarre said. “It can also call upon Detroit and Toledo.”

The director anticipates this new aspect to the business will drive up the port’s tonnage in the coming year.

“It’s a significant boost during what is typically the slowest time of the year for the port,” LaMarre said.

Though many said it is LaMarre’s leadership that has driven the growth and success of the port, he credits the port’s business partners and DRM. That success will continue into 2019, he said.

“ When you couple our cargo activity with our industry leadership, it is evident that the port, though not large in tonnage, continues to be seen as one of the most impactful ports on the Great Lakes.”

The port wants the community to be involved in its operations. It launched a new website, www. portofmonroe.com, and a Facebook page where it shares its activity.

 

SOURCE: Monroe Evening News