Port of Indiana welcomes first ocean ship of 2016

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor opened the 2016 international shipping season April 22 with the arrival of the M.V. Lubie, a 623-foot bulk carrier from Europe. To commemorate the first ocean vessel of the year, the captain was presented with the Port of Indiana “Steel Stein.” 

“Our port handles lakers and river barges year-round, but the first ocean vessel is always energizing for businesses and our workforce at the port,” said port Director Rick Heimann. “The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway provide a global connection for Indiana companies to ship goods to and from world markets. Having access to this international trade route is vitally important for the U.S. and Indiana economies as well as numerous transportation and logistics jobs.”

Owned and operated by the Polsteam Shipping Co. and built in 2011, the Bahamas-flagged Lubie picked up its steel cargo in Ijmuiden, Holland and stopped in Cleveland before coming to Burns Harbor. Dock workers unloaded over 6,600 tons of steel before Capt. Jacek Kurpiel and his 21 Polish crew members continued to Milwaukee to discharge the ship’s remaining cargo, then on to Thunder Bay, Ontario to load grain for shipment to world markets. 

Heimann presented Capt. Kurpiel with the “Steel Stein,” which commemorates Northwest Indiana’s identity as “The Steel Capital of North America.” The Port of Indiana is recognized as one of the top steel ports in the country for inbound and outbound shipments of steel and metal-related products. 

The steel was unloaded by port stevedore Federal Marine Terminals with local workers from the International Longshoremen’s Association and the International Union of Operating Engineers.

“The significance of the first ship arriving at the port at the start of the new shipping season is threefold,” said Brian LaRue, General Manager for Federal Marine Terminals/Burns Harbor. “It represents the positive economic impact on our community; it symbolizes the enduring role of the industry, and it demonstrates the commitment and collaboration of all those involved in the shipping trade. Our staff and the local longshoremen workforce are both excited about the first ship of the season and what will hopefully be a strong 2016 shipping season.” 

Maritime Editorial