Bay Shipbuilding Corp. of Sturgeon Bay, WI laid the keel for their hull # 712 on January 4, 1974 to be built as a smaller sized Great Lakes self-unloading bulk cargo carrier. The new vessel was launched on November 19, 1974 for Buffalo's American Steamship Company (ASC), a subsidiary of GATX Corp., Chicago, IL. Completed in 1975, the self unloader was christened Sam Laud by Mrs. Edna Laud on behalf of her husband at a christening ceremony held April 15, 1975. Mr. Sam Laud was the former President (1945) and Chairman of the Board (1956) of GATX Corp. having started with the company in 1916 as shop painter and riveter. Mr. Laud died August 1, 1963. GATX Corp. had acquired ASC in July of 1973. Mrs. Laud was accompanied by Mr. Frederick G. Jaicks, Chairman and CEO of Inland Steel Co., Chicago, IL who gave the address at the christening ceremonies.