An event that hasn’t happened since 1981 is coming to surface soon as Interlake Steamship Company has contracted with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to construct the first U.S. flagged Great Lakes bulk carrier in more than 35 years. Last week, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and The Interlake Steamship Company hosted a ceremonial “first-cut-of-steel” event. The new River-Class, self-unloading bulk carrier will be 639 feet long and 78 feet wide. She will have the capacity to carry 28,000 tons. The ship will transport raw materials to support manufacturing throughout the Great Lakes region. Interlake President Mark W. Barker said The Interlake Steamship Company is proud to build locally, supporting surrounding communities and states. He said it’s a legacy that they began more than 100 years ago. He went on to say, “Living and working in the Great Lakes region, and promoting growth and the positive economic impact of Great Lakes shipping is integral to the mission and vision of Interlake Steamship Company as a leader in the industry.”