Duluth, Minn. USA – The first oceangoing vessel of the 2011 navigation season arrived in the Port of Duluth-Superior this morning – Monday, April 11. The Cyprus-flagged Federal Leda (Lee-da) sailed beneath the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 7:10 a.m. and headed to CHS in Superior to begin loading durum wheat. Her arrival marked the first saltwater vessel (i.e. “saltie”) into the Twin Ports this year to have transited the Great Lake St. Lawrence Seaway system (GLSLS) – the entire 2,342-mile inland waterway from the Atlantic Ocean.
The Federal Leda began her voyage in Constanza, Romania, and made two stops along the GLSLS to discharge steel (in Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario). She will load nearly 21,000 short tons (19,050 mt) of durum wheat at CHS and, after a stop in Sorel, Quebec to take on 11,023 short tons (10,000 mt) of titanium slag, is bound for Italy. Local vessel agent for the Federal Leda is Daniel’s Shipping Services.
The Duluth Seaway Port Authority will host a First Ship Ceremony at CHS at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 12, to welcome Captain R. Kapuscinski and his crew to the Port of Duluth-Superior. Community leaders and representatives from the maritime industry invited to participate in tomorrow’s ceremony, include: City of Superior’s Mayor Bruce Hagen and Superior’s Planning & Port Director Jason Serck; Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority; Rev. Tom Anderson, Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers director; and Gene Shaw, director of public relations for Visit Duluth, who will announce the winner of this year’s First Ship Contest, an annual competition cosponsored by Visit Duluth and the Port Authority. Due to homeland security regulations, the ceremony is an invitation-only event.
High quality pasta is made of 100 percent durum wheat. Durum is developed specifically to have the right gluten strength and color for the best pasta consistency and taste. According to the N.D. Wheat Commission, 60 percent of the nation’s durum is produced in North Dakota, where the average yield is 32 bushels per acre. “This first shipment of the 2011 season represents about 25,000 acres of wheat produced by farmers in our neighboring state,” said Adolph Ojard, Port Authority executive director. “The Port of Duluth-Superior and the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway provide a direct link for them to markets in Europe and North Africa. Our inland marine highway keeps transportation costs competitive and enables North Dakota farmers to compete in the global marketplace.”
This year’s “first saltie” arrived just four days later than her sister ship did last year (Federal Elbe on April 7, 2010); the Port’s earliest recorded arrival of an oceangoing vessel was the Indian ship LT Argosy on April 1, 1995.