Page header image of an ore ship on Lake Superior

No Foolin’: M/V Barbro G arrives as season’s first saltie

April 1, 2024

DULUTH, Minn. — The first oceangoing vessel of the 2024 maritime shipping season entered the Port of Duluth-Superior today.

M/V Barbro G, a 623-foot bulk carrier operated by Sweden’s Brochart KB, earned 2024 First Ship honors, completing the season’s first full transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway en route to the Great Lakes’ westernmost port. By tradition, this first full transit from the Atlantic Ocean marks the annual opening of the Duluth-Superior Harbor, although the interlake navigation season began with the Poe Lock opening on March 22.

After arriving under Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge at 11:44 a.m., Barbro G sailed to the Ceres/Riverland Ag terminal on Rice’s Point to load approximately 22,000 short tons of durum wheat destined for Algeria.

Colley Motorships (Montréal) and Guthrie-Hubner Inc. (Duluth-Superior) are the vessel agents for Barbro G, which is captained by Borys Smyrnov of Ukraine. The vessel is sailing under the flag of Portugal.

“Despite our recent snowstorm, arrival of the season’s first full Seaway transit is a true sign of spring and a reminder of the economic impact these great ships help deliver to our region,” said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “We’re excited to welcome Barbro G and share our Midwestern wheat cargo with the world via the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.”

The Port Authority’s annual First Ship welcoming event is scheduled for tomorrow. A fixture of the celebration – the 41st annual First Ship contest, co-sponsored by Visit Duluth and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority – will crown a winner from nearly 8,000 entries based on the official Barbro G arrival time.

About the Ceres/Riverland Ag Duluth Storage Terminal: Built in 1978, it is the Twin Ports’ most-automated grain facility. It has a capacity of more than 12.2 million bushels and a horseshoe rail loop that can accommodate 220 railcars. The facility last hosted Duluth-Superior’s first oceangoing ship in 2020. Riverland Ag, owned by Minnesota-based Ceres Global Ag Corp., is an agricultural grain storage and supply business. Ceres is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and together with its affiliated companies, operates 11 locations across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Minnesota.

Historical Notes: The latest arrival of the port’s first saltie was May 7, 2014 (Diana). The earliest was March 28, 2023 (Federal Dart). Only once previously has the season’s first saltie arrived on April Fools’ Day: April 1, 1995 (Argosy). It was, at the time, the port’s earliest-arriving oceangoing vessel ever.


More than 700 vessels and 30 million short tons of cargo move through the Port of Duluth-Superior each year, making it the Great Lakes’ largest tonnage port and one of the nation’s top 20. The port supports more than 7,000 jobs and contributes $1.3 billion in business revenue to the regional economy. Learn more at