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Slow start to shipping season

Sam Hankinson/Tribune Ships Log • May 9, 2018 at 11:00 AM

The month of May began with three deliveries to our port.

Last Thursday, Central Marine Logistics’ self-unloading motor vessel Joseph L. Block arrived in port in the early morning to unload slag at Meekoff’s D&M. The Block departed the dock at around 8 a.m. and backed out to Lake Michigan.

The next day, Interlake Steamship Co.’s self-unloading motor vessel Kaye E. Barker crossed the pier heads at 5 a.m. and traveled upriver to the Verplank dock to unload a load of stone. The Barker was gone by early afternoon.

Finally, Monday morning saw the arrival of Port City’s articulated tug/barge Prentiss Brown/St. Marys Challenger. The pair tied up at the St. Marys Cement terminal in Ferrysburg and were still discharging cement as of Tuesday afternoon.

All three ships that came in last week have already visited Grand Haven multiple times this season. The Block and Barker were making their second visits, and the Challenger a third.

Through the month of April, the port of Grand Haven saw seven cargoes delivered. When compared with data from last season, this is a 30 percent decrease in activity. Last April, we had received 10 cargoes at this point. The current five-year average for the month of April is also seven.

The slow start can be attributed to the effect that the long winter has had on construction and shipping companies across the Great Lakes.

So far, we have seen five different vessels visit our port. At the same time last season, six different ships had made stops to Grand Haven.

As far as future ships go, we may have seen the Wilfred Sykes in port by the time this is published. The Sykes will be covered in next week’s article.

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