According to preliminary data, total cargo volumes handled at Port of Montreal in 2011 increased to 28 million tonnes, representing an increase of approximately 9 % over 2010 levels and representing a new record, exceeding the results for 2008, the last full year before the global recession set in. That year the Port handled 27.9 million tonnes of total traffic and posted its best performance of the past 25 years.

Port authority president and CEO Sylvie Vachon officially inaugurated on January 3 the start of a new year of port activity by awarding the Gold-Headed Cane to Capt. Jendrik Fuerstenberg, master of the M.V. Seasprat, the first ocean-going vessel to enter the port without a stopover in 2011. It was the 173rd annual presentation of the Gold-Headed Cane, a tradition going back to 1840.

The M.V. Seasprat left the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on Dec. 20. It crossed the Port of Montreal’s limits on January 2 at 6:04 p.m. Its arrival highlights the fact that the port is open year-round to all ocean-going vessels.

Flying the flag of Germany, the M.V. Seasprat is 188 metres long. Operated by German Tanker Shipping GmbH & Co. KG, the ship was launched in 2007. It docked at berth 103 to discharge its cargo of petroleum products destined for Shell Canada. German Tanker Shipping is represented by SMK Tanker Agency Inc., a Montreal shipping agent that specializes in liquid cargoes.