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Cargo tonnage surges on       St. Lawrence Seaway

2017-07-21

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).

Total cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway are up 20 per cent this year as the marine highway supports business growth from key sectors of the North American economy.

According to The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, total cargo tonnage from March 20 to June 30 reached 12 million metric tons - two million metric tons more compared to the same period in 2016.

"Seaway cargo shipments are a reflection of North American and global economic conditions in industries such as auto manufacturing, construction, mining and agriculture. Cargo volumes have improved in almost every category from iron ore and grain to road salt and construction materials compared to last spring," said Terence Bowles, President and CEO, The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

"The St. Lawrence Seaway is a bellwether for the health of the overall U.S. and Canadian economies and reflects strong demand for raw materials to support the automotive, manufacturing and construction sectors," said Bruce Burrows, Chamber of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

Canadian grain totaled 2.4 million metric tons, up 14 per cent, with vessels shipping a large carry over of Prairie and Ontario grain products from the fall harvest to overseas markets.

G3 Canada is a growing grain company that has a significant investment in grain handling facilities located at various points along the St. Lawrence Seaway. In June, G3 Canada Limited's staff and customers, as well as other dignitaries gathered to celebrate the grand opening of G3's $50 million new lake terminal at the Port of Hamilton.  The terminal is the centrepiece of G3's entrance into the southern Ontario grain handling market.  G3 Hamilton features technology that maximizes facility load and unload speed.

"Fundamental to the business case for the new terminal is access to the St. Lawrence Seaway as the intent is to load both Great Lakes lakers and inbound salties to ship volume through this facility.  The St. Lawrence Seaway is strategic to G3's western Canadian infrastructure as well as our facilities at Hamilton, Québec City and Trois-Rivières," said Karl Gerrand, CEO, G3 Canada Limited

Year-to-date iron ore shipments totaled 2.8 million metric tons, up 65 per cent over 2016 levels. Canadian domestic carriers are loading U.S. iron ore pellets at Minnesota ports/docks to ship via the Seaway to the Port of Québec, where it is then transferred to larger ocean-going vessels for onward transport to Japan and China.

Dry bulk cargo (including materials like stone, cement, gypsum, road salt and potash) shipments from March 20 to June 30 totaled 3.4 million metric tons, up 17 per cent over the same period last year.  General cargo shipments including specialized steel and aluminum ingots destined to be used in the automotive and construction industries also topped 1.1 million metric tons, up 29 per cent.

Trade through the Port of Thunder Bay to and from Western Canada has been strong through the month of June.  Year-to-date, 3.15 million metric tons of cargo have moved across Thunder Bay docks, which is 16 per cent higher than the 10-year average.  Outbound shipments of the port's mainstay cargo, prairie grain, are well ahead of normal (2.5 million MT vs. 2.2 million MT).

Tim Heney, CEO of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, added: "Potash has also been one of the highlights of the 2017 shipping season so far in Thunder Bay.  As of June 30, potash shipment volumes are double what they usually are, and almost three times as much as last year at this time (252,000 MT vs. 90,000 MT).  There has been a large increase in direct-export shipments to Brazil and Europe via ocean-going vessels.  Thunder Bay is the only potash load point on the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway System."

The port's Keefer Terminal also had a very successful month.  The terminal handled a variety of dimensional cargoes including electrical transformers, windmill components, conveyor belt coils, modular buildings, and a large shipment of steel beams and rail.  With the exception of the modular buildings which were outbound, these cargoes were offloaded to Keefer's vast laydown area before being transferred to truck and rail for furtherance

 
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