Captain Volker Hube, Master of the M/V Valentina, awarded Gold-Headed Cane by the Montreal Port Authority



    MONTREAL, Jan. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The President and CEO of the Montreal
Port Authority (MPA), Mr. Patrice M. Pelletier, inaugurated a new year of
activity today at the Port of Montreal by presenting the Gold-Headed Cane to
Captain Volker Hube, Master of the M/V Valentina, the first ocean-going vessel
to enter the Port of Montreal in 2008.
    Captain Hube's name and that of his ship would permanently be inscribed
in the history books of the Port when the Valentina became the first
ocean-going vessel to cross the Port of Montreal's limits at Sorel at 0 h 21,
on January 1, 2008.
    The presentation of the 169th Gold-Headed Cane ceremony reunited all the
maritime industry and the Montreal business community. The 2008 edition of
this ceremony allowed the MPA to recognize the work of the pilots of the
Corporation du Saint-Laurent Central and the Port of Montreal, namely
Alain Arseneault, Jean Duval, and Raymond Jourdain, who helped bring the ship
to port.

    Worthy representative of ocean navigation

    Captain Volker Hube has more than 40 years of experience on the high
seas. He completed his studies at the Staatliche Seefahrtrschule Cuxhaven
Maritime Institute near Hamburg, where for decades officers of the German
merchant marine have received training. He currently lives in the city of
Stettin, Poland.
    On January 1, he added another accomplishment to his career by receiving
the Gold-Headed Cane. It is in fact the first time Captain Hube and his
20-member crew, after leaving Antwerp in Belgium on December 24, have received
this honour.
    A Marshall Islands flag ship, the M/V Valentina has a capacity of
1,853 EVP and measures 178.6 meters long. Chartered by the OOCL (Orient
Overseas Container Line) shipping line, this new generation container ship was
put into service last August. It docked at Montreal Gateway Terminals
Section 77, operated by Montreal Gateway Terminals Partnership on January 1,
and will leave the port in the next couple of days for Liverpool, England.

    The Port of Montreal pursued its growth trajectory in 2007

    "Captain Hube's accomplishment provides an impetus for this new year of
commercial navigation at the Port of Montreal, and also marks the beginning of
a new economic cycle where 90% of commercial exchange at the world level
relies on maritime transport," said Mr. Patrice M. Pelletier, President and
CEO, MPA.
    The President and CEO took the opportunity to summarize port activity for
the 2007, which totalled more than 25.3 million tonnes, an increase of 2% in
comparison to 2006, which was a historic year for the Port of Montreal.
    In 2007, the general merchandise sector totalled 12.6 million tonnes.
Liquid bulk reached 7.5 million tonnes and dry bulk surpassed 5.3 million
tonnes.

    A proud maritime tradition

    The Gold-Headed Cane is a long-standing maritime tradition in Montreal
that dates back to 1840. Originally, it promoted the maritime links with
Europe and helped accelerate the opening in spring of the navigation season at
the Port of Montreal, which was cut off from the rest of the world by ice
during winter.
    In 1964, the awarding of this prize became a New Year's tradition when
the Danish vessel Helga Dan inaugurated all-season navigation at the Port of
Montreal on January 4.
    Back then the first captain to enter the Port of Montreal during the
spring received a top hat. Since then, recipients receive the Gold-Headed
Cane.

    About the Montreal Port Authority

    The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) is an autonomous and profitable
Canadian agency created by federal law to operate the port facilities in
Montreal on a commercial basis. Managed by a Board of Directors composed of
Montreal business people, the MPA operates its own railway network, a grain
terminal and a marine passenger terminal and leases the port terminals to
private stevedoring firms. Through its activities, the Port of Montreal
generates over $2 billion in annual economic spin-offs, and creates 18,000
direct and indirect jobs. For information, visit www.port-montreal.com


    Note to photo desks and photo editors:

    A colour picture of the Gold-Headed Cane ceremony is available on CNW.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: France Poulin, Director of Communications,
(514) 283-7050, poulinf@port-montreal.com


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