Port of Indiana welcomes first ocean ship of 2016


[April 22, 2016]


PORTAGE, Ind. – The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor opened the 2016 international shipping season today 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 the Port of Indiana. Dock workers will unload over 6,600 tons of steel at the port before Captain Jacek Kurpiel and his 21 Polish crew members continue to Milwaukee to discharge the ship’s remaining cargo. The Lubie will then go to Thunder Bay in Ontario to load grain for shipment to world markets.

Port Director Heimann presented Captain 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 Assoc. 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.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened its locks to ocean vessels for the 58th international shipping season on March 21 after closing in late December. The Seaway closes for maintenance in the winter, but the Port of Indiana is open year-round handling cargoes by river barges, lake vessels, trains and trucks. The port handled 2.8 million tons of cargo in 2015, the second highest tonnage in over two decades. Following 2014’s all-time record volume, 2015 marked only the third time the port handled 2.8 million tons or more in the port’s 45-year history.

About the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor: The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor opened in 1970 and is operated by Ports of Indiana, a statewide port authority managing three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. Established in 1961, the Ports of Indiana is a self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy by developing and maintaining a world-class port system. Information:


Media contact: Rich Allen, 574.361.7597,


* indicates required