The 2010 commercial shipping season on the Saginaw River ended much like the 2009 season, with fewer vessel passages and the economy once again being a driving factor of the decrease. This was the fifth straight year that the number of commercial passages has declined. The first vessel of the season arrived on March 31st with the last arriving on December 15th for a 260 day season. During this period there were 145 commercial vessel passages by 29 different boats. Over the 2009 season there were 163 passages by 37 different boats, for a 2010 decrease of 18 passages and 8 fewer vessels.
Looking at some of the other numbers from the 2010 season, sixteen different commercial docks along the Saginaw River saw deliveries this season. Having the most traffic was the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw with 27. This was down four from the 31 in 2009, but still enough for the most in 2010. Next was the Bay Aggregates dock with 25 deliveries, down from 29 in 2009. Third on the list was the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City with 22, a decrease of 14 from the 36 deliveries last year. Rounding out the top five were the Consumers Energy dock with 17 and the General Motors dock with 16.
The vessel with the most trips up and down the Saginaw River in 2010 was the tug/barge combo of the Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber with 31. This was down from the 36 trips the pair logged in 2009, but still enough to make the Moore/Kuber the leader for the fifth year in a row. Coming in next was the Calumet with 23, up two from last season’s total of 21. Third was Manitowoc with 14 trips, ending up with two fewer trips than in 2009. This was the same top three as last year. To finish out the top five was the Indiana Harbor with nine and tied with 7 passages apiece were the Algoway, Algorail, and Walter J. McCarthy, Jr.
Looking at the fleets, Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation were again the champs with more passages than any other fleet for the fourth straight year in a row. Their boats logged 53 visits, which is five more than in 2009. K&K Integrated was next with 31 visits, down nine from last year’s 40, and American Steamship Company was third with 17 passages, down four from last year. For the remainder of the top five, Algoma Central Marine had 14, followed by Andrie, Inc. with nine.
There were a number of vessels who were visitors in 2009, that did not call on the Saginaw River in 2010, most notably, the Agawa Canyon, who sadly was sent overseas for scrap. Others on the list who were missed on the river in 2010 were the Adam E. Cornelius, American Century, American Integrity, American Courage, H. Lee White, Sam Laud and Frontenac. Making return visits in 2010 after not seeing the Saginaw River for a season or more were the American Mariner, CSL Tadoussac, Alpena, Cuyahoga, and Saginaw. Some other seldom seen, infrequent, or new visitors to the Saginaw River were the tug Evans McKeil with the cement barge Metis, the tugs Karl Luedtke, Ann-Marie, Tenacious, and Kathy Lynn.
There were a number of other interesting stories on the Saginaw River during the 2010 season. The tall ship fleet called on the downtown area with visits by the Lynx, Denis Sullivan, Europa, HMS Bounty, Pride of Baltimore II, Roseway, Madeline, Pathfinder, Playfair, Roald Amundson, and the two local Bay City tall ships, Appledore IV and Appledore V. The Luedtke tug, Ann-Marie, sank in the Bay Aggregates slip in December, spending a few days on the bottom of the river before being refloated the next week. The cause of the sinking is still unknown and still under investigation. Over the summer at the Essroc cement dock, crews fabricated a new powered cement unloading dock and on November 4th, the tug Evans McKeil and cement barge Metis were the first visitors to use the new rig. On a related note, Essroc only saw two deliveries in 2010 as opposed to 17 back in 2008. While on the flip side, the Lafarge cement terminal in Carrollton had four deliveries as opposed to only one in 2009. Deliveries to the Bit-Mat dock rebounded in 2010 from a low of 3 in 2009, to 10 in this past season. The SCS Grey Fox made her annual 4th of July visit to help raise funds for the effort to bring the decommissioned Navy destroyer, USS Edson, to Bay City. As more and more hurdles are cleared, it is looking more and more likely that this long in the works project will finally happen in 2011. Dredging was the name of the game in 2010 with crews from Ryba Marine working the upper Saginaw River during the spring/summer months and Luedtke Engineering working the lower Saginaw River/Entrance Channel this fall. More dredging has been approved for 2011. Finally to wrap up the beginning and end of the season, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock called on the Saginaw Bay in the spring and fall to work aids to navigation, placing summer and winter marks.
Here is wishing everyone a safe and prosperous shipping season in 2011!
The information contained in the report is as accurate and error free as possible, but is possible there may have been a vessel or dock delivery missed as tracking vessels for the entire season is not an exact science. Thank you for taking the time to read this year end report. I will see everyone again in 2011 for my seventh season of logging commercial vessel movements on the Saginaw River.
Thanks for you support,
Todd A. Shorkey
Saginaw River Images