First Deeper-Draft Vessel Transits Lower Mississippi Ship Channel

On December 27, T. Parker Host, a 100-year-old ship stevedoring, terminal and ship agent company, claimed “bragging rights” when it announced the first vessel to sail from the Mississippi River with a draft of 47.7 feet following the lower river’s newly dredged 48-foot draft. The lower river will be dredged to a depth of 50 feet by later this year, enabling larger vessels and more cost-efficient cargoes. 

The mv. CSSC Le Havre, operated by Cargill International with a cargo from Alliance Coal LLC, was headed for the Far East loaded with more than 112,000 metric tons on December 23, 2021.

“Host is proud to have served as both the vessel agent and terminal operator for this historic voyage, which highlighted both our commitment to service as well as our assets,” according to a press release by the company. 

“When the Crescent River Pilots who oversee navigation of vessels in the this stretch of river announced the increase in depth on December 20, the Host Agency team sprang into action working with the master, shippers, owners, operators and terminal to increase the cargo to be loaded by more than 2,000 tons with less than 24 hours’ notice,” said Chris Kitsos, senior operations manager at Host Agency.

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“Host had already invested in equipment and dock improvements to accommodate up to 250,000-ton ships to load up to 50 feet in any river condition, so when the pilots approved deeper navigation, we were already ready,” said Brian Taylor, general manager of the Gulf at United Bulk Terminals.

“We are proud to be a part of this historical moment on the Mississippi,” said Host’s Chairman and CEO Adam Anderson. “We expect to be able to load vessels to 50 feet in 2022. Cape-size ships can load up to 10 percent more cargo, making U.S. exports more competitive in the global marketplace. The increased depth allows vessels to immediately carry more cargo, resulting in lower costs, reduced emissions and increased efficiency for the entire supply chain.“As a 99-year-old company, Host looks forward not only to being a part of the current phase to reach 50 feet in 2022, but to support the continued long-term efforts to reach a 55-foot draft that was authorized by the United States Congress in 1985.”