We were reminded at today’s National Maritime Day celebration at the DECC that maritime transportation is vital part of the national and our own local economy.
Waterborne transport efficiently moves both bulky natural resource materials and finished goods to global destinations.
Jim Weakly, president of the Lake Carriers’Association, in his keynote address, pointed out that Without water transportation the cost of all goods would be much higher. Moving bulk goods by water is the most efficient, least costly, safest and most environmentally friendly method of transportation. If water transportation was not available, all of those goods and materials would have to move by land which would increase congestion and cause higher levels of air pollution due to increased fuel use.
The Forgotten Mode?
Maritime transportation can be the forgotten method of moving goods and people—even here in Duluth, home of many a boat nerd. Ships are visible to the general public when they are in port but while in transit may be many miles from shore and it’s out of sight, out of mind.
Here in the Twin Ports, iron ore from the Minnesota Iron Range moves to steel mills in the lower Great Lakes. Grain from western Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas moves to destinations throughout the world. Nationally and internationally, finished consumer export and import goods arrive and depart from our coastal ports. Almost everything we consume has at some point moved by water.
National Maritime Day
Originally held in observance of the value and importance of the U.S. maritime industry, National Maritime Day commemorated May 22, 1819, when the SS SAVANNAH sailed from her home port of Savannah, Ga., bound for Liverpool, England, becoming the first steam vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The observance later became more of a day to honor merchant mariners and merchant marine veterans, primarily those involved in WWII and other armed conflicts around the world.
Today, through efforts of numerous organizations including the Propeller Club of the United States, National Maritime Day is observed as a combined salute to merchant mariners, merchant marine veterans and the entire maritime industry, focusing attention on the benefits maritime brings to America’s economy, trade, national security, employment, environmental protection, recreation and quality of life.
M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar
The Interlake Steamship Company has announced the renaming of the ship Charles M. Beeghly in recognition of the Hon. James Oberstar, retired United States Congressman from the State of Minnesota. The naming of the ship is in recognition of Congressman Oberstar’s work toward improving maritime transportation in the Great Lakes. A ceremony christening the newly named ship will be held harbor side of the DECC on Tuesday May 23 at 10:30am.