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St. Lawrence Seaway cargo increased 9% in 2017
2018-01-16

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

Healthy gains in iron ore, dry bulk and general cargo sparked a nearly 9% increase in traffic to 38.1 million metric tons in 2017 on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The North American waterway posted a strong finish despite the sustained blast of Arctic air that extended from late December into January and accelerated the formation of ice.

Contending with difficult weather conditions in the final two weeks, a handful of ships were delayed by the presence of ice in several locks. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) indicated  that the 2017 navigation season concluded on January 11 with the transit of the Federal Biscay through the St. Lambert Lock in Montreal at 6:08 PM.

Seaway employees on the ground worked diligently to maintain the locks, while staff in the control centers worked with the Canadian Coast Guard, marine pilotage authorities, and other members of the marine transportation support system. Thanks to the dedication of all parties and their unrelenting efforts, the St. Lawrence Seaway concluded its 59th navigation season successfully.

"Without a doubt, 2017 was a good business year, and we successfully wrapped up the season thanks to the skill and dedication of our employees. Collectively, we got the job done" said the SLSMC's CEO, Terence Bowles.

Iron ore cargo surged by 28.9% to over 8 million tons. Dry bulk rose by 18% to 10.5 million tons, while general cargo (including steel shipments) surged by 30% to 3.4 million tons. Grain declined by 10.6% to 10 million tons. (Photo Port of Hamilton)

 
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Transport Canada lifts speed limits in Gulf of St. Lawrence

2018-01-03

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

Transport Canada announced that it has lifted temporary vessel speed restrictions in force in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since August 11, 2017 aimed at curbing additional right whale deaths. An unprecedented 12 right whale fatalities occurred last summer - some as a result of ship strikes. The global population of the endangered mammals has dwindled to about 450.

Transport Canada implemented a speed restriction for vessels 20 metres or more to maximum of 10 knots in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence. The federal transport department reports it issued 13 penalties to ship operators for alleged non-compliance.

"There have been no sightings of North Atlantic right whales in the area of slow-down in recent weeks," Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on January 11. "We thank the many vessel operators and captains who complied with this mandatory slow down."

The Ottawa-based Chamber of Marine Commerce welcomed Transport Canada's  announcement. CMC President Bruce Burrows said: "We're pleased to see the speed restrictions lifted as our ship operator members continue winter deliveries of vital products to Canadian companies and northern communities. We are working in tandem with the scientific community and government officials over the winter to develop solutions based on strong science that both protect North Atlantic Right Whales and minimize economic impacts for all Canadians."

 

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Record cargo year announced at Montreal Gold-Headed Cane ceremony

2018-01-03

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

Montreal Port Authority (MPA) President and CEO Sylvie Vachon awarded the famous Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Rakesh Kumar, an Indian national, Master of the Ottawa Express containership operated by Hapag-Lloyd which was the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2018.

At the same time, the MPA announced on January 3 another record year in total and container traffic. According to unaudited preliminary results, the Port handled close to 38 million metric tons in total 2017 traffic, representing an increase of nearly 7% from 2016 while container volume rose by 5.7% to 13.8 million tons. The cruise sector also ended 2017 with record results, welcoming 114,000 passengers and crew members - up 36% over 2016.

The Ottawa Express left the Port of Liverpool, England, on December 21. It crossed the Port of Montreal's limits on January 1, 2018 at 11:55 am.
"I want to congratulate Captain Rakesh Kumar and the entire crew of the Ottawa Express, who braved the ice and cold on the St. Lawrence River to make it safely to their destination. The arrival of Captain Kumar and his container ship is a great reminder at the start of this new year that container handling is part of the Port of Montreal's DNA and has been growing here for over 50 years," said Ms. Vachon.

The Gold-Headed Cane Ceremony, a tradition for 179 years, kicks off a new year of activity at the Port of Montreal. In the past, the first ship arrived at the Port in the early spring, after the break-up and thawing of ice on the St. Lawrence River. In present times, awarding the Gold-Headed Cane is a reminder that the Port of Montreal has been open year round since 1964.

 

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Prince Rupert ships record volumes in 2017

2018-01-12

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

Cargo moving through the Port of Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia rose to a record volume of 24.1 million tonnes in 2017, anchored by 26% growth in its intermodal container business and growth of dry bulk cargo volumes.

Overall tonnage through the port was up 28% from 2016, and exceeds the previous record high of 23 million tonnes set in 2013. Container cargo exceeded 926,000 TEUs following DP World's expansion of Fairview Terminal, increasing annual capacity by 60% (see photo).

"The increasingly diversified nature of the gateway, combined with terminal expansion and the introduction of new logistics services, is paying dividends to Canadians," said Bud Smith, Chair of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. "The Port of Prince Rupert remains well-positioned to accommodate growth of Canadian trade in the Asia-Pacific region, and we continue to advance expansion that will see us become Canada's second largest port by volume in the next decade."

Ridley Terminals: The bulk-handling facility specializing in the shipment of steel-making coal from Northeastern British Columbia, saw total shipments rebound to 7.6 million tonnes, a 90% increase over 2016 volumes.

Westview Terminal: The wood pellet terminal saw a significant increase in biofuel volumes, up 22% to 1.1 million tonnes, representing the export of nearly half of Canada's entire wood pellet production.

Prince Rupert Grain Terminal: The bulk grain terminal saw a slight decrease of 6% based on lower volumes of wheat, but exceeded a total of 5 million tonnes for the fifth straight year. (Photo PRPA)

 
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Deep Freeze smothers St. Lawrence River shipping

2018-01-02

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

Leo Ryan, Editor

As dramatically illustrated by the accompanying photo taken by a veteran pilot, nightmarish conditions have prevailed for commercial shipping operations on the St. Lawrence River since a Deep Freeze hit virtually all of Canada more than a week ago. The worst of the icy grip has at least several more days to go, say weather forecasters.

Since 1962, winter navigation on the St. Lawrence, permitting ocean vessels to reach as far inland as the Port of Montreal, has represented a unique world transportation phenomenon - thanks notably to ice-breaking services, when requested, from the Canadian Coast Guard.

It remains to be seen whether the current extremely harsh weather conditions will provoke ice jams of the same dimension which paralyzed shipping and port operations for an extended period in 1981. Heating and other issues have reportedly affected some vessels in the waterway.

Certain areas, like the two bridges around Québec City and the Saguenay River, present major challenges in such circumstances.

On this occasion, Maritime Magazine would like to salute the courageous efforts of all the actors involved - from ship captains, pilots, tugboat operators and the Canadian Coast Guard (doing its best with limited resources) to crew members, stevedores and dockers battling bitter cold and heavy winds while, among other arduous tasks, attempting to break tons of ice frozen onto vessels.

On the St. Lawrence Seaway too, the prolonged Arctic cold mass has complicated commercial navigation, resulting in delays in closing locks for the last vessels passing through the system. Some locks, such as those for instance at Sainte-Catherine near Montreal, could not open on Dec. 31 to let six vessels through due to ice-buildup off the lock walls and gates. (Photo Louis Rhéaume).

 
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