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Ottawa pledges funding for Thunder Bay infrastructure upgrades

2018-07-04

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).

The federal government is investing $7.5 million into infrastructure upgrades at the Port of Thunder Bay's Keefer Terminal. The announcement was made on July 3 by Transportation Minister Marc Garneau at the Thunder Bay Port Authority office, along with local representatives Don Rusnak and Patty Hajdu.

The project involves adding tracks and laydown areas for cargo staging and transshipment to respond to increased demand, and building a 4,645 square metre multi-purpose heated facility to suit requirements of terminal users.

Once completed, this project will improve trade flow by easing capacity constraints and bottlenecks, and provide shippers with more options to meet their requirements. It will also increase the resilience of the transportation system to a changing climate and its adaptability to new technologies and future innovation.

Thunder Bay Port Authority CEO, Tim Heney, said the funding from the government will cover half of the $15 million multi-stage project that has been ongoing for the last 12 years. An additional $1 million is coming from Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the remainder is covered by the port authority.

 

"This will allow us to increase volumes, particularly in structural steel handling," Mr. Heney said. "We've become quite successful in rail and steel imports from Europe headed to western Canada. The numbers are growing. Our warehouses are currently at capacity, so building more capacity for shipments is really what it is going to do for us."

The funding is part of the federal government's $2-billion National Trade Corridor Fund, which will be assisting transportation projects across the country for the next 11 years.

"Our government is investing in Canada's economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors. We are supporting projects that will efficiently move commercial goods to market and people to their destinations, stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs, and ensure that Canada's transportation networks remain competitive and efficient," said Mr.  Garneau. (Photo TBPA)

 
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