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Seaway cargo declines
three percent in 2016

2017-01-17

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).

After opening the 2016 season on March 21, the St. Lawrence Seaway closed on December 31, enjoying a navigation season of 286 days. This performance ties the record first established in 2008 and matched in 2013 for the longest navigation season. Total cargo fell by just over 3% to 35.1 million tonnes as a surge in grain traffic did not offset falling demand for coal and iron ore.

Grain movements posted a strong performance for a third consecutive season, contributing 11 million tonnes of the total and continuing to track well above the five-year average.

The Port of Thunder Bay, the principal point of entry for grain into the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, reported a late-season surge in grain activity, as loadings in December trumped all previous December activity since 1995. Grain activity was also strong in the U.S. as the total volume originating from ports such as Duluth / Superior and Toledo increased by 21% during 2016.

"The Seaway System is able to respond to unpredictable surges in cargo movements from a broad number of sectors" noted Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC). "We take it all in stride" said Mr.  Bowles.

U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Administrator Betty Sutton said, "The final tonnage statistics for the 2016 Seaway navigation season are a validation of the importance of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System to the economy of North America's 'Opportunity Belt'.  Cargo shipments this past year supported manufacturing, construction, energy, agriculture, and other industries throughout the Great Lakes region. In particular, the movement of containers with high value project cargo is an area where we foresee continued growth in the future."

Serving as a vital trade artery, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System enables cargo to move between North America and more than 50 countries across the globe.

"Without a doubt, agricultural commodities have become increasingly important, and it's rewarding to see the pace of new investment by grain companies in ports along our waterway" said Mr. Bowles. "What we need to keep in mind is that while grain movements may be the key player this year, we have the capacity and the adaptability to service any number of diverse clients and their cargo requirements. In a world economy characterized by volatility and unpredictable swings in trade patterns, the Seaway System provides a resilient transportation network that keeps all types of goods moving".

Final statistics show iron ore dropping by 13.56% to 6.2 million tonnes and coal by 9.5% to 2.3 million tonnes. Liquid bulk rose by 18% to 3.6 million tonnes and general cargo by 1% to 2.7 million tonnes. (photo TBPA)

 
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