Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
E-mail

St. Lawrence Seaway poised for cargo rebound

2018-06-15

 

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).

Despite a slow start to the 2018 Great Lakes-Seaway shipping season, industry executives are expecting economic growth to translate into a promising year following strong numbers for grain, coal, liquid bulk and general cargo in May.

"Brisk activity in May has helped to overcome a slow start to shipping after ice challenges in the Soo Locks and in Lake Superior," said Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders.

"The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system is an important trade corridor for the United States for iron ore and grain exports, road salt and construction materials among other cargoes.  Customer demand is strong and we are optimistic that Seaway cargo volumes could potentially reach 40 million metric tons by the end of the year."

According to St. Lawrence Seaway statistics, overall cargo volumes via that segment of the transportation corridor between March 29 and May 31 totaled 7.9 million metric tons, a decrease of just under four percent compared to the same period in 2017.

Year-to-date iron ore shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway are down 25 percent, primarily because exports from Minnesota to Asia lagged in April due to ice conditions.  These exports have resumed and are expected to continue in the coming months. Grain shipments were up 8.5 percent at 2.2 million tons.

Seaway cargoes that have performed well this spring include stone (up 162 percent), cement (up 14 percent) and low-sulphur coal (up 43 percent) which is used for some power generation but mainly as a raw input for steel production. Liquid bulk shipments, including refined petroleum products and asphalt, were also up 19 percent.

 

Ice breaking operations were essential to getting the shipping season underway. From mid-December through mid-May, the U.S. Coast Guard spent over 40 percent of their ice breaking hours in direct ice breaking assistance. There were an additional 3,500+ hours of preventative ice breaking to establish and maintain paths in Green Bay, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Superior. While these efforts were of great help to the Port of Green Bay, the harsh ice conditions in Lake Superior contributed to the decrease in total cargo.

The Port of Green Bay was up 10 percent in May over the same time last year, in part to large increases in limestone, petroleum products and project cargo. "We were off to a slow start due to the April blizzard and ice on the bay, but we are very pleased with the increase in May," says Dean Haen, Port of Green Bay Director. "The nice weather in May got us back on track and we have a good outlook for the rest of the shipping season." (photo Paul Beesley)


 
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner