MSC ship wins Montreal first-vessel recognition

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

On January 1, 2023, 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 master, Singh Ranjit Kumar.

The MSC Donata left the port of Sines, Portugal on 23rd Dec 2022. The Panama-flagged MSC container 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.

Kumar said he was honored to receive 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. Born in India, 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 CEO of the Montreal Port Authority.

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 Gold-Headed Cane is awarded to the master of the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in the new year. It is a trophy long coveted by the captains of many countries.

Until 1964, the Gold-Headed Cane was presented in the spring to herald the resumption of navigation, as Montreal was cut off from the world during the long winter months. Since the advent of icebreakers, which allow year-round navigation, the cane has been awarded to the master of the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port without a stopover at the start of each year.