The historic Great Lakes passenger-car ferry the S.S. Badger has been acquired by the Interlake Holding Company. Built in 1952, the ferry is a local attraction as the last coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States. She has provided a shortcut across Lake Michigan for more than 60 years and today is a popular tourist attraction.
Ferry service across Lake Michigan dates back to the 1870s and became an important part of the manufacturing industry in the region. Originally operated by the Pere Marquette Railway, the service was acquired in the late 1940s by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad and during its height in the 1950s seven ships maintained the year-round service.
The 410-foot sister ships, S.S. Spartan and S.S. Badger, launched in 1952 and 1953, were the largest and as it would turn out the last coal-fired, steam engine car ferries built in the United States. Originally designed primarily to transport railroad cars, she played an important part in the region’s automotive industry.
Launch of the S.S. Badger – Lake Michigan Car Ferry Company photo
By 1980, with changes in the auto industry and improved rail connections, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad was granted permission by the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the cross-lake routes. Sold to a local businessman, the service continued operated by the Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company focused on the rail freight business. They ceased operation in 1990 and it was expected that the ferries would be sold for scrap.
Two years later, a local entrepreneur purchased the ferries relaunching the service focused on leisure travelers and tourists, as well as commercial trucks traveling between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin,. With the service restored aboard the S.S. Badger, the Lake Michigan Car Ferry Company was acquired in 1994 by two local businessmen that continued to operate the Badger through the 2020 season.
Today the Badger can accommodate 600 passengers and 180 vehicles, including; RVs, motorcycles, motor coaches, and commercial trucks for her four-hour voyage across Lake Michigan. In recognition of its heritage and its significance on the Great Lakes, the Badger has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Badger continues to provide a route across the lake as well as being a tourist attraction – Lake Michigan Car Ferry Company photo
“Car ferries in Ludington have been an icon and important economic driver for the community for more than 100 years,” says LMC and Tug-Barge Executive Vice-President Don Clinga. “When the Badger ended service in November of 1990, many employees and local citizens believed that the era of car ferry service had ended. The rebirth of the Badger in 1992 marked a major milestone in maritime history on the Great Lakes. Now, 29 years later, another milestone has been achieved with the sale of the company to a highly qualified new owner who will extend the legacy of the Badger into the future for both port cities of Ludington and Manitowoc.”
Interlake operates a fleet of nine freighters on the Great Lakes and is building the U.S.’s first new Laker in nearly four decades. The company’s owners also own Seastreak, a fleet of high-speed passenger ferries that operate in New York Harbor and from various other locations on the east coast including New Bedford, Massachusetts.
“As a maritime company, we understand how important the Badger connection between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin is to those communities,” says Mark W. Barker, president of Interlake Holding. “Interlake is fully committed to continuing its operation as the largest cross-lake passenger service on the Great Lakes, a key part of US10 highway and a vital link across Lake Michigan.”
The acquisition of the Badger, along with her sister ship the Spartan which has not operated since the mid-1970s, was part of a larger strategic acquisition. Interlake also purchased the assets of Pere Marquette Shipping Company that operates the Articulated Tug-Barge Undaunted-Pere Marquette 41. The barge is a workhorse on the Lakes carrying diverse cargoes that traditional self-unloaders, including the ones operated by Interlake, cannot service such as large armor stone for break walls, pig iron, scrap, and other miscellaneous materials.
Interlake is expanding its operations with this niche business and will create a new business entity, Interlake Maritime Services, which will manage the new businesses along with The Interlake Steamship Company and its fleet of nine freighters.
Badger alongside her sister ship Spartan that has not operated since the mid-1970s – Lake Michigan Car Ferry Company photo
Go to Source
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]
Qatar Airways Cargo transported 56 SkyCell containers with vaccines from one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide on its scheduled freighter and belly-hold cargo flights for its customer, CEVA Logistics. The 54-tonne shipment consisting of pneumococcal and varicella vaccines were flown from Brussels to Mumbai via the carrier’s hub in Doha on two separate flights. […]