The ship was traveling from Lake Superior to St. Mary’s River when it struck ice that put a hole in the ship’s bow. The ship’s crew was able to apply a temporary patch before it docked in Monroe for the repairs, LaMarre said. The Mississagi was on its way to the Port of Toledo for a coal load.
Built in 1943 in Ecorse, the ship is among the oldest vessels on the Great Lakes.
One of the port’s objectives is to offer full-service ship repair, LaMarre said.
“The port proved to be an excellent location for the repair,” he said. “This is a perfect example of the vision we have at the port to be a place that offers ship repair services in the future.” The Great Lakes shipping season opened last week. The Soo Locks opened March 25 while the St. Lawrence Seaway officially opened March 29.
The Great Lakes as a whole is planning for a busy 2018 shipping season fueled by new business and infrastructure expansion.
“We have great potential to build on the recent economic momentum of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping,” said Bruce Burrows in a news release. “2017 was a major turnaround with significant cargo increases fueled by global economic recovery.” Burrows is the president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders.
“We expect 2018 to be another strong year in shipping. U.S. Great Lakes ports have made significant investments in infrastructure and services that are attracting new business to their respective regions and facilitating American cross-border and international trade,” he said.
In 2017, the Port of Monroe had its most diverse cargo come through. While its average tonnage was down from 2016, there were many successes. The port’s tonnage was 1,782,479.77 metric tons down from 2,385,372.89 metric tons in 2016.
LaMarre said this year will be similar. The port still plans to move coal, limestone, petroleum coke, synthetic gypsum, stone and liquid asphalt during the year. Two liquid asphalt shipments have arrived at the port already, including the most recent delivery Tuesday.
“We are not going to break tonnage records because more coal is being sent by rail versus marine,” he said. “The diversification of cargo in the last few seasons provides a number of opportunities for the port.”
Next week, the port expects its first vessel to unload cargo at its new intermodal dock, which was finished last year.
The $3.6 million project included money the port received from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. It received a $3 million loan from the MEDC’s investment funds for dredging and dock installation. The dock created two large, cellular cofferdams, which allows ships to be moored against the port.