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Ship bringing largest sugar delivery ever to Domino

CultureChesapeake Bay BridgePort of BaltimoreInner Harbor

The largest load of sugar ever delivered to Domino Sugar's Baltimore refinery arrives aboard a ship on Monday.

The Domino Sugars refinery will make history Monday morning when it is scheduled to receive the largest single raw sugar shipment ever to a port east of the Mississippi River, the company announced.

More than 95 million pounds of raw sugar from Guatemala will be unloaded from the 623-foot bulk carrier Simon Schulte, more than 100 feet longer than the cargo ships that usually deliver sugar to the refinery.

"It's a monster," said refinery manager Stu FitzGibbon of the ship. "Normally, it takes a week to offload a ship. This time it will take two weeks."

Domino's parent company, American Sugar Refining Inc., is moving to larger ships to lower transportation costs, FitzGibbon said.

The ship traveled through the Panama Canal and was anchored Friday afternoon just south of the Bay Bridge. On its arrival at the Inner Harbor, pilots will direct two large tugboats as they turn the vessel 180 degrees and guide it next to Domino's pier.

The ship is 100 feet wide and gaining access to its holds will be tricky.

"Our cranes don't even cover one-half of the ship. We'll have to move the ship back and forth so the cranes can reach all of the holds," FitzGibbon said.

About a week into offloading, cranes will lower bulldozers into the holds so that longshoremen can push sugar from the deepest recesses to the middle to be scooped out.

The port of Baltimore ranks No. 1 nationally for handling imported and domestic raw cane sugar.

The Domino refinery will celebrate its 90th anniversary in May. American Sugar, the world's largest cane sugar refining company, employs about 500 people here and generates more than $150 million for Baltimore's economy, according to the company.

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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