AmericasDry CargoOperations

First ship built on the Great Lakes for 35 years makes maiden voyage

The 639-foot Mark W. Barker, the first Great Lakes freighter in nearly 40 years, embarked on its maiden voyage on Wednesday from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The vessel is the first new build for The Interlake Steamship Company since 1981.

Made from steel manufactured in Indiana and iron ore from Minnesota, the US-built, US-owned ship is also US-crewed, making it fully Jones Act compliant.

Brendan O’Connor, VP of Marketing and Marine Traffic for The Interlake Steamship Company, said the new vessel “is the most versatile in our fleet and strategically sized to navigate into nearly any port on the Great Lakes.” Its square-shaped cargo hold and large hatch openings will allow it “to carry unique project cargoes,” he said.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.


  1. “Carrying Capacity 26,000 Gross Tons”? What does that mean in the real world?
    I’d be interested to know what the pumping arrangement is to remove water from such a large hold.

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