The barge Erie Trader, pushed by her tug Clyde S. VanEnkevort, made her way out of the Port Terminal slip in Duluth on Tuesday, where she has spent the last few months in winter layup. After departing, the pair encountered thick ice outside the harbor, and were forced to stop for a few hours while the tug worked to free her barge. By evening, the pair was underway for Two Harbors, where they will load their first cargo of iron ore pellets. Edwin H. Gott and Kaye E. Barker are currently set to leave the harbor on Thursday, while James R. Barker and Burns Harbor should depart on Friday. Lee A. Tregurtha is expected to get underway in the following days. The Soo Locks open for the season on Sunday, March 25, and Duluth should see its first arrival of the season early next week.
In addition, Sturgeon Bay will start to see its first departures of the season later this week. Numerous vessels are set to depart on Friday, while others will follow soon after. Paul R. Tregurtha, which is currently having exhaust gas scrubbers installed at Bay Shipbuilding, will likely remain laid up until mid-May when the installation is complete.