On April 20, Port of Oshawa officially welcomed its first international vessel, MV Marbacan, at a special Top Hat ceremony, kicking off a new shipping season, and what is expected to be a pivotal year for the Port.

“With a new $2.5-million cargo pad and new multi-million dollar rail spur set to open this spring, the Port is well positioned to serve current customers and new businesses like never before,” said Donna Taylor, President and CEO of Oshawa Port Authority. “These investments in port expansion support our local companies and benefit the entire region.”

Taylor presented Captain Sergii Prokopenko, Master of MV Marbacan, with the traditional top hat during a special ceremony attended by local elected and industry officials. MV Marbacan arrived from Portugal to offload more than 17,000 tonnes of steel rebar to be used in building construction in Durham Region and the GTA.

Steel is the Port’s leading cargo, with 167,000 tonnes imported through the port in 2014, up significantly from over 94,000 tonnes handled in 2013. “Last year was a year of growth and expansion for the Port, and it’s already paying off,” said Gary Valcour, Chair of Oshawa Port Authority. “This season is just getting started, and we’ve succeeded in attracting new customers and creating new jobs.”

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.