Port receives first international ship of the season

[March 29, 2011]

PORTAGE, Ind. – The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor celebrated the opening of its 41st international shipping season with the arrival of the “M/V Avonborg.” Port and local officials boarded the vessel for a brief ceremony, presenting the ship’s captain, Capt. Gert J.K. Mol, with gifts including an Indiana state flag and a vintage Port of Indiana South Shore poster. The first ship signifies the start of the shipping season, the arrival of vital materials for local business and the start of another work season for longshoremen, crane operators, truckers and businesses that depend on the port.

The Avonborg was the first ship through the St. Lambert lock in Québec, Canada, as the St. Lawrence Seaway opened its 53rd shipping season on March 22. The vessel carries 75 of the longest wind turbine blades in existence in North America on their journey from Esbjerg, Denmark to Payne, Ohio, where the turbines will be installed in Horizon Wind Energy’s Timber Road project. Two more ships will move through the port in coming weeks carrying additional wind turbine components for the project. The blades were manufactured by Vestas in Denmark, transported to the U.S. by Wagenborg Shipping of the Netherlands and off-loaded by Federal Marine Terminals, the general cargo stevedore for the Port of Indiana.

“Federal Marine Terminals handled 15 shipments of wind cargo at the port last year and has made significant investments into specialized cargo-handling equipment,” said Peter Laman, port director for the Port of Indiana. “Their experience, combined with our productive workforce, makes this port a premier Midwest distribution point for wind components and oversized cargo.”

The Avonborg was built in 2009 at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, China, and weighs 12,000 tons. Flagged for the Netherlands, the Avonborg is manned by a crew from both the Netherlands and Philippines. Benchmark Marine Services served as the shipping agent.

Waterborne shipping generates more than 104,000 jobs and $14.2 billion in economic activity per year for the Indiana lakeshore economy. The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority that operates a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan in Mount Vernon, Burns Harbor and Jeffersonville. The Ports of Indiana manages approximately 2,600 acres, which are home to 60 companies and 800 acres of available industrial sites. For more information, please visit www.portsofindiana.com.

Media Contacts:
Jody Peacock – (317) 435-1532; jpeacock@portsofindiana.com
Liz Folkerts – (317) 232-9205; lfolkerts@portsofindiana.com

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