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CMC President sees
potential major opportunities
on infrastructure projects

2017-01-20

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).

Bruce Burrows, new President of the Ottawa-based Chamber of Marine Commerce, sees opportunities for stakeholders in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence System if both the Canadian government and Trump administration in Washington deliver on planned substantial infrastructure investments.

Speaking in Toronto at an annual CMC luncheon during the Marine Club events, Mr. Burrows said the waterway was a vital engine of sustainable growth that has "enormous untapped potential that can be unleashed to create more marine traffic at lower cost.

"I am convinced that inland and coastal shipping in Canada and the U.S. has tremendous capacity to grow. And current economic and political conditions are conducive to seeing this goal realized."

South of the border, he said, the new Trump administration " is set to roll out a trillion dollars in infrastructure spending - if the President delivers on campaign promises. This means there could be a whole lot more cargo being shipped on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence, and our coasts to deliver these projects. Imagine the shipments of steel-making materials alone that would be needed. Investments in icebreaking resources, waterways, locks and portside infrastructure, and more efficient delivery of marine navigational services would unleash the full sustainable potential of shipping."

Mr. Burrows noted that all signs point to reduced red tape and business fees under President Trump. He said he hoped Washington would work closely with the Canadian government to address the "hodgepodge of regulations that currently govern the bi-national waters within which we operate."

Mr. Burrows stressed that marine shipping's green advantage bodes well in today's environmentally and climate-conscious world. "With our fuel-efficient ships, we have a lower carbon footprint than road or rail."

In his introductory remarks, CMC Chair Wayne Smith said that the Chamber's recently-completed merger with the Canadian Shipowners Association was perfectly timed to better coordinate and strengthen industry advocacy efforts to meet the challenges of increasing regulations and costs.

The well-attended CMC luncheon also featured candid comments by keynote speaker Stuart Rothenberg, a prominent U.S. political analyst on the new and largely hard-to-predict outlook for U.S. policies with the Trump administration. He summed it up in these words: "One, expect anything. Two, keep your fingers crossed." (photo CMC)

 
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