Columbia Transportation Division Logo Shirt
- Printed on Front
- 100% Cotton
- Shirt Color - ON red
The Columbia Transportation Company was formed as a division within the Oglebay Norton Company in 1920. The mining industry, of which Oglebay Norton was a leader, faced transportation difficulties in getting ore shipped from Lake Superior ports to the industrial cities of the lower Great Lakes region. Numerous small shipping companies owning one or two ore boats presented inconsistent transportation rates and speeds of delivery to customers.
The Columbia Steamship Company (later known as Columbia Transportation Company) was formed to make Oglebay Norton's iron ore flow in a more efficient and cost-effective manner to customers. The company was named after the brig COLUMBIA that was the first vessel to transit the Soo Locks in 1855.
Columbia purchased eleven freighters from ten smaller operators to start the 1920 fleet. Vessel fleet size fluctuated over the decades after the company was founded. A peak size was reached in the early 1940s when twenty-two vessels were in the fleet to meet war-related demand for ore. The 1995 fleet had ten vessels of much larger capacity than the original fleet. After the 1994 season the fleet name was changed from Columbia to the Oglebay Norton Marine transportation Company.