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Seaway shipping boosted by construction materials cargo

2018-07-28

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 first official month of summer has come and gone, but the signs of summer were prevalent in the latest Great Lakes-Seaway shipping results. Construction materials were influential in St. Lawrence Seaway cargo tonnage with a nearly 38 per cent increase in asphalt  at end June from the same period last year, as well as increases in cement and stone.

"Summer is the season for construction projects and ships have been delivering materials for major building projects across the region," said Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. "Grain exports are also up this season and illustrate the importance of marine transportation to so many of Canada's economic sectors."

Overall cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway between March 29 and June 30 totaled 12.1 million metric tons, down by 2 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.  The slight decrease was due to the later and slower start of the season and a decline in salt shipments.

Year-to-date grain shipments via the Seaway (including U.S. and Canadian grain) totaled 3.1 million metric tons, up 7.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.  Liquid bulk shipments, which include petroleum and asphalt products among others, totaled 1.8 million metric tons - up 28 per cent.  Increases in petroleum shipments are mainly due to the rebalancing of stocks following scheduled maintenance shutdowns of some refineries in the region. Stone shipments were up 32 per cent and cement shipments were up 24 per cent. Iron ore traffic declined by 18.23 per cent to 2.35 million metric tons.

 

As of June 30, the Port of Hamilton showed a 21 per cent year-over-year increase in cargo tonnage. Leading the way for the Port of Hamilton was agricultural cargo: the export of Ontario-grown grain through the port's three grain terminals, owned by Richardson International, Parrish & Heimbecker, and G3 Canada Ltd.; as well as imports of fertilizer for use by Ontario producers. The port is closing in on a million metric tons of ag-related cargo already this season.

Steel-related commodities, including raw materials for steelmaking represent another strong area for the Port of Hamilton so far this season. Shipments in this category are trending 14 per cent higher than the same period in 2017. This activity is attributed to new momentum at Hamilton-based steelmaker Stelco, and continued robust activity at ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

Liquid bulk is a smaller cargo segment at the port, but also showing strong results in this first part of the season. Imports of liquid bulk products like asphalt and gasoline are up 49 per cent.

"We're happy when efficient transportation can give the Canadian industries we serve a competitive edge," said Ian Hamilton, President & CEO, Hamilton Port Authority. "Cargo growth like we're seeing this season is an indication to us that we're succeeding in delivering value."
At the port of Thunder Bay, shipments of traditional bulk cargoes of grain, coal and potash that make up the majority of the port's cargo, were on par with five-year averages for the month. (photo Paul Beesley)

 
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