The 2013 shipping season at the Port of Duluth-Superior in Minnesota, on the western edge of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system, has kicked off.
Crews reported for fit-out last week to get many wintering vessels set to sail. U.S. Coast Guard cutters, along with Heritage Marine tugs, have been breaking ice to open shipping channels and slips around the harbor in preparation for numerous ships getting under way.
The departing vessels will wait with other downbound traffic near Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., for the reopening of the Soo Locks — the gateway between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie — for the 2013 season at 12:01 a.m. on March 25. Likewise, there will be a lineup of upbound vessels on the eastern side of the locks, meaning the twin ports will likely see regular marine traffic patterns by the end of the month.
Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said in a written statement that he expects to see an increase in activity during 2013, compared to the previous year.