The tug/barge unit JOSEPH H. THOMPSON/JOSEPH H. THOMPSON JR. arrived in Erie at 0400 today to become the first vessel of the 2007 shipping season, arriving with stone from Calcite, Michigan for the Old Ore Dock.
However, the THOMPSON JR., which had been plagued by troubles with the differential in the propellor shaft since last year's repowering at Erie Shipbuilding, decided to spend some more time in port with the troubles, and early this afternoon moved across the slip to the east wall of Erie Shipbuilding. She'll be here a couple of days.
The JOHN J. BOLAND arrived at 0700 with stone from Calcite, backing into Erie harbor and tying up at the Mounfort Terminal. The BOLAND departed at around 1500 this afternoon.
Erie Management Group continues to attempt to start a container shipping service out of Erie, having recently acquired control of Great Lakes Feeder Lines, Inc. The company supposedly will start shipping containers through Erie this year; however as of yet they have not acquired the vessel they list on their website. EMG tried to beat Erie Shipbuilding out for the lease of the shipyard in 2005 on the basis that they would make it a multipurpose shipyard, container facility and warehouse; however at the time they asked the Port Authority to make $9,000,000 in upgrades to the facility before they even took over the facility. Seeing is believing and I'll believe this container service is the real thing once it has been up and running for several sucessful, profitable seasons. Several companies have tried to start container services similar to this one on the Lakes over the years, with little, if any sucess at all.
While along the harborfront today I noticed a CSX locomotive pull a train full of rail construction equipment up along the siding closest to Erie Shipbuilding. I'm not sure if this is for the construction of the new rail siding into the yard. I'll see what I can find out.