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Twin Ports shipping season underway

With three blasts from its horn, the freighter John G. Munson signaled the start of the Twin Ports shipping season on Monday. The 786-foot-long vessel passed under the Aerial Lift Bridge at 5:29 p.m. with a load of taconite destined for Gary, Ind...

John G. Munson brushes aside ice
The bow of the John G. Munson brushes aside a small amount of ice in the Duluth Harbor Basin on Monday. It will find ice between two and three feet thick east of Whitefish Point. The U.S.C.G.C. Alder left harbor after the Munson to help clear a channel where needed. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

With three blasts from its horn, the freighter John G. Munson signaled the start of the Twin Ports shipping season on Monday.

The 786-foot-long vessel passed under the Aerial Lift Bridge at 5:29 p.m. with a load of taconite destined for Gary, Ind.

Along the way, it will travel through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., scheduled to open for the season at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.

A second vessel, the Mesabi Miner, was expected to leave Duluth around midnight, said Adele Yorde, Duluth Seaway Port Authority spokeswoman. It was headed up the North Shore to Taconite Harbor with a load of coal.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder departed after the Munson en route to Whitefish Point, where significant ice cover will come between the Munson and the Soo Locks. The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw will be working its way through the ice from the other direction.

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Although ice still is prevalent in the eastern Great Lakes, this year's shipping season should get off to a better start than last year's, Yorde said.

"The industry felt it lost four weeks of shipping time (last year)," she said.

Outside of the Mesabi Miner's return, the Twin Ports shouldn't see much more shipping activity until next week, Yorde said.

1607958+ship0324.jpg
The John G. Munson leaves Duluth at 5:29 p.m. Monday to begin the 2015-16 Twin Ports’ shipping season. The ship is carrying 24,000 tons of iron ore pellets to Gary, Ind. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Related Topics: SHIPPING
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