Port of Oshawa has officially welcomed the first international vessel at a special Top Hat ceremony, signaling the start of a new shipping season. M/V Wigeon arrived from Portugal with more than 20-thousand tonnes of steel rebar. “We are delighted to welcome Captain Monem Bachar, Master of M/V Wigeon and his crew to the port of Oshawa,” said Donna Taylor, President and CEO of Oshawa Port Authority, who presented the captain with the traditional top hat. “We’re also pleased to continue to play an important role in supporting local industry and the economy.” M/V Wigeon offloaded steel rebar to be used in building construction in both the Durham Region and GTA. Steel continues to lead the Port of Oshawa’s cargo volumes, with 190-thousand metric tonnes moving through the port last year.

In 2015, the port handled 49 vessels, carrying over 378-thousand metric tonnes of bulk cargo. That’s up by almost six per cent from the previous year, or over 21-thousand metric tonnes. Along with steel, shipments of potash, magnesium chloride and asphalt were also up. The port handles an average of $23 million worth of cargo annually.

“As federal infrastructure funding rolls out, this will bring new opportunities to the region and the port,” said Gary Valcour, Oshawa Port Authority Chair. “The port’s new rail spur is well equipped to support the planned refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear power plant as well as Highway 407 expansion.”

The first international ship to enter the Port of Oshawa through the St. Lawrence Seaway is honoured each year, during a special ceremony and presentation of the lucky top hat. This tradition began back in 1829, when the first ship entered the newly created Welland Canal, and the prestigious top hat was presented to the captain as a symbol of good luck.

The time charter owner of M/V Wigeon is Ferrostaal Steel GMBH. The general ship agent is Jonathan Van Den Ende. Oshawa Stevedoring and Local 1997 of the International Longshoremen’s Association discharged the cargo.