Carmeuse C33 cargo ballasts symbolic Great Lakes freighter’s maiden voyage

Sources: Carmeuse Americas, Pittsburgh; Interlake Steamship Co., Ohio; CP staff

Carmeuse Americas inaugurated the first U.S. flagged bulk carrier ship built on the Great Lakes since 1981, dispatching stone from its Port Inland Operation to Muskegon, Mich. concrete customers by way of the Verplank Trucking Cobb Dock. Interlake Steamship’s 639-ft. M/V Mark W. Barker began its 110-mile maiden voyage to Port Inland from the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Yard in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

“This is monumental for our company and the US flag fleet as our much-anticipated freighter departs on her first voyage in what will be a long life of service on the Great Lakes,” affirms vessel namesake and Interlake Steamship President Mark W. Barker. “Construction of this vessel reinforces our long-term commitment to shipping and delivering essential cargoes for customers throughout the region.”

Constructed of Minnesota iron ore-derived, Indiana-milled steel, the vessel launched from the Sturgeon Bay yard for a maiden voyage up Lake Michigan to the Carmeuse Port Inland Operation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“Bulk carriers play an integral role in supporting the economy of the Great Lakes region, ensuring the reliable supply of key materials to where they are needed,” says Carmeuse Port Inland Operations Manager Patrick Lamb. “As a business that relies on transporting large volumes of heavy bulk materials to customers around the Great Lakes, we welcome the addition of such a modern, efficient vessel to the Great Lakes fleet, and are pleased to be among her first customers.”

Recognizing the M/V Mark W. Barker as the first bulk carrier on the Great Lakes equipped with engines meeting EPA Tier 4 exhaust emissions treatment standards, plus onboard systems ensuring low energy consumption, Lamb adds: “Carmeuse is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business. Part of that means looking at how we transport our products to our customers. We applaud Interlake Steamship for incorporating environmental sustainability into the design of the M/V Mark W. Baker. It’s a forward-looking approach that fits well with our own.”

“This new vessel not only brings with it additional cargo carrying capacity and capabilities, it is the most versatile in our fleet and strategically sized to navigate into nearly any port on the Great Lakes,” observes Interlake Steamship Vice President of Marketing and Marine Traffic Brendan O’Connor. “The M/V Mark W. Barker will give us unmatched ability for cargo operations and to carry unique project cargoes because of both her square-shaped hold and larger hatch openings. She truly was designed to be a vessel for the future.”