Montreal, QC — Montreal Port Authority (MPA) President and CEO Sylvie Vachon was pleased to award the famous Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Rakesh Kumar, an Indian national, Master of the Ottawa Express, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2018. The Ottawa Express left the Port of Liverpool, England, on December 21, 2017. It crossed the Port of Montreal’s limits on January 1, 2018 at 11:55.
As part of this ceremony, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) reported another record year with close to 38 million tonnes of cargo handled in 2017, according to unaudited preliminary statistics.”
“I want to congratulate Captain Rakesh Kumar and the entire crew of the Ottawa Express, who braved the ice and cold on the St. Lawrence River to make it safely to their destination. The arrival of Captain Kumar and his container ship is a great reminder at the start of this new year that container handling is part of the Port of Montreal’s DNA and has been growing here for over 50 years,” said Ms. Vachon.
The Gold-Headed Cane Ceremony, a tradition for 179 years, kicks off a new year of activity at the Port of Montreal. In the past, the first ship arrived at the Port in the early spring, after the break-up and thawing of ice on the St. Lawrence River. In present times, awarding the Gold-Headed Cane is a reminder that the Port of Montreal has been open year round since 1964.
This event also let the MPA recognize the work of the Corporation of Mid St. LawrencePilots, Messrs. Alain Aubé and Gabriel Ross, who steered the ship safely to port. Every year, the Port of Montreal also likes to recognize the work of one of the artisans of the Gold-Headed Cane. This year, Ms. Vachon congratulated Urgence Marine Inc. for its contribution to the smooth functioning of port operations.
This great annual marine tradition brings together numerous representatives of the shipping industry and the Montreal business community along with key figures from the political and cultural sectors. This year, the Montreal Port Authority was honoured to have among its guests Ms. Alexandra Mendes, Member of Parliament for Brossard-Saint-Lambert, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport of Canada, Mr. Jean D’Amour, Quebec Minister of Maritime Affairs and Ms. Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal.
Flying the flag of Bermuda, the Ottawa Express is 245 metres long. Chartered by Hapag-Lloyd shipping company, this container ship was commissioned in 1998. The Ottawa Express docked at Berth 77 at the Cast terminal operated by Montreal Gateway Terminals Partnership. It will be reloaded for its departure on January 5.
The Ottawa Express : first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2018. (CNW Group/Montreal Port Authority)