It's another sign of spring arriving, as well as a major indicator of economic activity here in northwest Ohio: The first overseas freighter has docked at the Port of Toledo.
The Port of Toledo has welcomed its first "salty" of 2013. Ironically, the ocean vessel is carrying a "sweet" load. The head of cargo operations for the Port Authority expects 2013 to be a solid year.
The MV ISA docked at the Port of Toledo Friday morning, carrying 9,500 tons of sugar. The vessel is the first overseas freighter of the season.
"This is one of the earliest first ships we've had in recent years. Hopefully it's a sign of good things to come," said Joe Cappel, head of cargo development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
Cappel feels diversity will be the key word for success in 2013.
"This year we think we're going to continue to expand on the types of products that are coming into port, some of our more traditional commodities, such as coal, may not be a strong as in years past," explained Cappel.
According to Cappel, the completion of the Ironville Dock project to expand capacity at the Port of Toledo is allowing for new shipping possibilities.
"The Ironville Dock gives us an additional 180 acres. The investments and improvements we've been making to that facility will allow for vessel traffic in the fall," said Cappel. "We think the future of Ironville is wide open. Liquid products, products related to oil and gas production in Ohio, could be one of those commodities."
Even before the MV ISA arrived, Cappel says 2013 has already been busy with activity at the Toledo shipyard.
"We've had 15 vessels in port this winter for various maintenance and repair," said Cappel. "All that brings jobs and economic opportunity into the region."
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