The massive Simon Schulte is the largest ship to ever dock at Domino Sugar’s Baltimore plant. The vessel will also set a record for unloading the most sugar in an east coast port – 95 million pounds of raw, unrefined sugar.
Just docking the 600-foot-long, 100-foot-wide bulk cargo ship at Domino's Locust Point pier was an accomplishment, requiring two tugboats that spun the vessel 180 degrees before pushing it alongside the dock. U.S. Customs also initially checked the vessel which arrived from Guatemala. Homeland Security agents also boarded the ship to check crew members' visas and search the ship for stowaways, protocol for vessels that travel the Panama Canal.
Plant workers will have to spend about 16 working days to discharge the cargo ship. It will be held in their raw sugar shed as inventory until appropriately processed. An estimated 6 million pounds of refined sugar is worked a day at the Domino plant, which equals out at nearly three week of operations for the refinery. They take this long, as it is done bucket by bucket with the addition of 30 mph winds and a ship bouncing against the dock.
ABC News reports that after the sugar comes off the ship, it goes into a hopper that sorts it for a conveyor belt. The belts run from the ship, around the plant and up into the sugar storage building where the unrefined product falls into piles waiting to be processed. Baltimore’s Domino plant refines about 140 million pounds of sugar each month.
This process generates a lot of productive activity for the port and the refinery. Manufacturing and the sugar industries both continue to remain strong. More importantly, as we continue to see ships being built at increasingly massive sizes, we can only expect the cargo and loads to be as large as this record-breaking one.