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   Opening Day 2021 in Port of Duluth-Superior as First Saltie Arrives

   The Federal Biscay, the first oceangoing vessel of the 2021 maritime 
shipping season, arrived in the Port of Duluth-Superior on Sunday, April 18.

Mary Kennedy
DTN Basis Analyst

   Springtime has many "opening days" when it comes to various events that were 
hibernating over the winter. We have already witnessed Major League Baseball's 
opening day on April 1, along with the first tow pushing barges through Lake 
Pepin on March 19 on its way to St. Paul, Minnesota, signaling the opening of 
the 2021 shipping season in the Upper Mississippi River.

   The latest, much anticipated event took place on April 18, as the first 
saltie, the Federal Biscay, made it to the Duluth-Superior Harbor marking the 
annual opening there and also the beginning of the 2021 grain shipping season, 
as grain shipped from the Port of Duluth-Superior is loaded for export to 
Algeria, Italy and other European and North African countries.

   Salties are ocean-going vessels that pick up loads from Great Lakes ports 
then head to Atlantic Ocean ports. Ships that are confined only on the Great 
Lakes are known as lakers and are able to remain in service much longer than 
salties. Because of the winter closure of the Soo Locks, all salties need to be 
through the locks ahead of the closure, which is usually around the end of 
December and don't return until spring when all the ice is out.

   "We're excited to see Federal Biscay and excited also to welcome its cement 
cargo, which will help build critical infrastructure throughout North America. 
It's another example of how Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping delivers 
the critical goods and raw materials of our everyday lives," said Deb DeLuca, 
executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

   The ship loaded its dry bulk cargo in Canakkale, Turkey, before sailing the 
Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway 
System on its way to Duluth. Upon arrival through the Duluth Ship Canal, 
Federal Biscay will visit the CRH Cement Duluth Terminal to discharge 
approximately 21,000 metric tons of cement destined for use in infrastructure 
projects stretching from the Twin Ports to Edmonton, Alberta, noted the April 
17 press release sent to DTN by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

   The first saltie's arrival each season is a reminder that the Port of 
Duluth-Superior is truly mid-America's gateway to the world. Located 2,342 
miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, Duluth-Superior is the Great Lakes top 
tonnage port and one of the nation's top 20. It links North America's heartland 
to regional and overseas markets, enabling manufacturers and cargo owners to 
serve and compete in the global marketplace,


   Port of Duluth-Superior 2020 grain tonnage approached 1.4 million short 
tons, finishing near its 2019 total and slightly above the five-season average. 
Combined with the record amount of wind cargo, this helped generate 85 overseas 
vessel arrivals to the port in 2020, equaling the 2019 total, which was the 
highest since 2010, noted the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

   For the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System as a whole, grain tonnage 
jumped 27% season-over-season, helping offset drops in other cargo categories 
and keeping 2020 Seaway tonnage nearly level with its 2019 total.

   Shipments to Duluth leave the U.S. through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the 
Great Lakes during navigation season. North Dakota Wheat Commission website 
notes that approximately 7% of U.S. spring wheat and approximately 36% of the 
durum leaves from the ports in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway region.

   "Arrival of the season's first full Seaway transit is a true sign of spring 
and also of the prosperity these great ships help deliver to our region," said 
DeLuca. For reference, the latest arrival of the port's first saltie was May 7, 
2014, and the earliest was March 30, 2013.

   Here is the Duluth Cam video of the Federal Biscay entering the Duluth Ship 
Canal Sunday, April 18:


   Mary Kennedy can be reached at

   Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

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