The first vessel of the 2016 shipping season arrived at ArcelorMittal Dofasco and the Port of Hamilton late in the evening on Thursday, March 24, 2016. The Algoma Discovery arrived carrying 25,000 metric tonnes of iron ore from ArcelorMittal Mining in Quebec.


The Hamilton Port Authority marks the start of each shipping season with the ceremonial presentation of a top hat to the Captain of the first vessel. On Friday morning, Algoma Captain Tom Higham was welcomed to Hamilton by Tom Kuhl, ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s General Manager of Primary Manufacturing Technology and Vicki Gruber, Hamilton Harbourmaster. Vicki presented Captain Higham with the traditional top hat, which he signed and dated, a port tradition. Today’s Port of Hamilton ceremony was Captain Higham’s first top hat ceremony in his 17-year career with Algoma.

“2016 is the 69th year of the Port of Hamilton’s Top Hat Ceremony,” Vicki says. “This presentation represents a gesture of respect and welcome. We are looking forward to a successful 2016 shipping season, and are pleased to welcome Captain Higham here to help get the season underway.” The Port’s top hat ceremony began in 1947 and there have been two ceremonial top hats used since – the first from 1947 to 1987 and the current since 1987.

Captian Higham and his crew of 20 on Discovery were the first through the Seaway on March 23 at the Montreal Port and participated in a small ceremony there as well. Soon after its arrival in Hamilton our crews began to unload the iron ore, via our two ore bridge cranes.

Iron ore represents the highest volume of any commodity that transits the Port of Hamilton, with more than 3.6 million metric tons of iron ore transiting the port in 2015, all destined for ArcelorMittal Dofasco. We also receive shipments of 1.2 million metric tons of coal, for a total of approximately 180 vessel deliveries a year of the two raw materials. Metallurgical coal is used in the production of coke. Both coke and the iron ore pellets are used in our three blast furnaces.

Cargo used by ArcelorMittal Dofasco represents close to 60 per cent of all the cargo handled through the Port of Hamilton.

Read more about ArcelorMittal and marine transportation in the January 2016 edition of Marine Matters magazine (page 26)