The MV Thunder Bay is a sign of confidence for the local port authority.
The Canada Steamship Lines' vessel was docked at Keefer Terminal in the city Friday during its maiden voyage and is one of the company's four new ships.
The recognition of the port with the naming of the ship is great, but Thunder Bay Port Authority board chair Greg Arason said the real value of MV Thunder Bay is the investment and the confidence it displays in the Great Lakes system.
"It's something we've been wanting for a long time, to see re-investment," Arason said.
"I think this is a great day for us because it signals there's faith in the future for our system."
The ship arrived with a load of iron ore and will be leaving for Montreal Saturday with grain.
With Duluth, Minn. as a tough competitor for grain on the Great Lakes, Arason said the new ships from CSL means a commitment to service the Thunder Bay port.
"I think this is a great signal the industry, the marine industry, is behind us and we're here to do business and move their product wherever they want it to go," he said.
The ship is the third in CSL history to have the name Thunder Bay and company president Louis Martel said with these new Trillium Class vessels, they decided to use older names.
The ship comes with the latest technology and uses 15 per cent less fuel and makes fewer emissions. It also boasts a 9,000 horsepower engine.
"The equipment was chosen from a green and environmental point of view," Martel said.
These four new ships are a significant investment from the company as CSL hasn't built new ships since 1985, Martel noted.
He said it demonstrates a commitment to the company, the industry, the Great Lakes, the customer and employees.