SEPT-ÎLES, January 9, 2009—Flying a Belgian flag, the M/V Lowlands Orchid was the first ship of the year to dock at the Port of Sept-Îles, arriving from Koper, Slovenia at 11:00 p.m., January 8, 2009. Once her cargo is unloaded, the vessel will set off again for Beilun, China on January 10, 2009, with a cargo of 165,000 metric tons of iron ore from the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC).

During a brief ceremony on board ship, Captain Acosta Monis was awarded the prestigious gold-headed cane representing the Port of Sept-Îles by Carol Soucy and Pierre D. Gagnon, respectively Chairman and President Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Sept-Îles.

Jean Masse of the City of Sept-Îles and IOC’s Robert Girardin and Patrice Tremblay also offered gifts.

This tradition, now in its 22rd year, celebrates the arrival of the first ship of the year to dock at the Port of Sept-Îles. To be eligible, the vessel must arrive from another country and leave for a destination outside Canada.

The Port of Sept-Îles is at the forefront of the region’s economy and plays a key role in its development. The Port’s annual economic impact has been estimated at $1 billion, with some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs.