Spring melt opens Detroit to cement traffic

Spring melt opens Detroit to cement traffic
Published: 26 March 2004

The bulk carrier Capt. Henry Jackman complete with about 28,000t of clinker arrived at Detroit, Michigan. Its arrival marks the unofficial start of the Great Lakes shipping season in the port. The Jackman was the first ship of 2004 to pass through the locks that link Detroit and the Upper Midwest with the world.  On Tuesday, as the Jackman passed through the Welland Lock No. 3 between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, Capt. Brett Walker donned a traditional top hat for a brief ceremony marking the Welland Canal’s season opening. Although local cargo ships ply the Great Lakes during part of the winter, the Jackman was the first boat of the year to come from beyond the locks.  The gateway at the other end of the Great Lakes -- the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie -- opened just after midnight Thursday to a queue of about a dozen waiting ships, some of which will glide down the Detroit River in the coming days.  But progress was slow as four icebreakers worked to clear the lower St. Mary’s River downstream of the locks.

The Jackman also was delayed almost a day because of ice near the Welland Canal. But on Thursday the freighter began unloading part of its cargo of clinker that originated at the St. Mary’s Cement plant in Bowmanville, Ontario. The clinker will be processed into cement mix at the St. Mary’s Cement plant on the Rouge River, just upstream from the Detroit River. The Jackman will continue on to Milwaukee to unload the remainder.