Business, Freight News, Sea

MSC Donata wins the Gold-Headed Cane

[ January 11, 2023   //   ]

On January 1, 2023, at 0:05 a.m., the MSC Donata was the first ocean-going vessel of the year 2023 to cross the Port of Montreal’s downstream limit at Sorel without a stopover. True to a tradition that dates back more than 180 years, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) is awarding the Gold-headed Cane to its Captain, Singh Ranjit Kumar.

The MSC Donata left the port of Sines, Portugal on December 23, 2022. The Panama-flagged MSC ship carries thousands of containers containing everyday commodities and useful materials for businesses and citizens of Quebec, Ontario and the Midwest. The ship ended its journey at the Viau terminal operated by Termont in section 48 of the Port of Montreal. The MSC Donata will be back at sea in a few days with containers ready for export to Marsaxlokk, Malta.

Not for the first time in Montreal, Captain Singh Ranjit Kumar said he was honored to receive for the first time the Gold-headed Cane, at the end of a crossing that went well, despite some moments of rougher seas in the ocean portion of the journey. Winning such a precious award itself is a big achievement and this is a lifelong memorable event for him and his entire team of MSC Donata but most importantly, its winning together. Born in India, Captain Kumar knew from a young age that he would like to sail on board of those big ships that serves the communities. He began his journey at sea at the age of 22 and joined MSC in 2005.

The Gold-Headed Cane engraved with the name of the winning captain and the ship’s name was presented on the dock by Martin Imbleau, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montreal Port Authority, during a ceremony at the terminal that was once again attended by a select group of guests and media, after two years behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

Mr. Imbleau said he was “delighted to continue this prestigious tradition that is the pride of ship masters and crews.” “The fact that we could do it again in person added to the solemnity and made it possible to pay tribute to these women and men, thanks to whom the goods and commodities reach their destination under sometimes difficult conditions,” he added.

The Montreal Port Authority would also like to acknowledge the work of the pilots of the Corporation du Saint-Laurent Central, Alain Arsenault and Manon Turcotte who steered the vessel to port.

As the new year gets underway, the MPA is releasing preliminary (unaudited) results for 2022. Activities and cargo volumes handled at the Port of Montreal remain closely linked to global economic trends. After two years marked by declines in cargo volumes due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Montreal posted a 5.4 gain in volumes over last year with a total of 35.9 million tonnes of cargo transiting through Port facilities in 2022.

“The Port of Montreal, your port, is doing fine, as evidenced by the encouraging preliminary results for 2022,” said Mr. Imbleau. In the great disruption caused by the pandemic, we all became aware of the existence and importance of supply chains and the need to restructure them. The Port of Montreal and its partners can help make this possible, specifically with the development of our major container terminal project in Contrecoeur.” 

The container sector saw a slight increase of 1.2% with 14.4 million tons handled. With the recovery in movements, the liquid bulk sector enjoyed a net increase of 10.5% over 2021 with 13 million tonnes handled.

The dry bulk sector posted a 3.2% to 8.1 million tonnes. The grain sector has seen a strong recovery with an increase of 18.7% after a difficult 2021 due to droughts. The 2022 crop is shaping up to be one of the best in recent years.

Finally, miscellaneous and non-containerized commodities totalled 0.4 million tons, up nearly 90% from 2021.

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