Montreal Port Authority President and CEO Sylvie Vachon awarded Port of Montreal’s Gold-headed Cane to Captain Rakesh Kumar, Master of Ottawa Express, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the port of Montreal without a stopover in 2018. Ottawa Express left Liverpool, England, on December 21, 2017, and entered the port of Montreal on January 1.

“I want to congratulate Captain Rakesh Kumar and the entire crew of Ottawa Express, who braved the ice and cold on the St. Lawrence River to make it safely to their destination. The arrival of Captain Kumar and his container ship is a great reminder at the start of this new year that container handling is part of the Port’s DNA and has been growing here for over 50 years,” said Ms. Vachon.

Flying the flag of Bermuda, Ottawa Express is 245 metres long. Chartered by Hapag-Lloyd, it was commissioned in 1998.

The Gold-Headed Cane Ceremony, a tradition for 179 years, kicks off a new year of activity at the port. Long ago, the first ship did not arrive at the port until the early spring, after the break-up and thawing of ice on the St. Lawrence River. In present times, awarding the Gold-Headed Cane is a reminder that the port has been open year round since 1964.

This event allowed the recognition of the work of members of the Corporation of Mid St. Lawrence Pilots, Alain Aubé and Gabriel Ross, who steered the ship safely to port. In addition, Port of Montreal recognized the work of one of the artisans of the Gold-Headed Cane. In addition, Ms. Vachon congratulated Urgence Marine Inc. for its contribution to the smooth functioning of port operations.