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Strong grain exports energize St. Lawrence Seaway

2018-08-15

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).

Overall cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway between March 29 and July 31 totaled 16.5 million metric tons, bolstered by grain exports and Great Lakes construction activity. The overall throughput was just a fraction of a percentage lower than the comparable period in 2017.

"After a late start, Seaway cargo shipments have been gaining ground all season and are now in line with last year's robust performance. Canadian grain exports to

Europe continue to climb due to a large carryover from 2017. With a strong 2018 harvest expected, this momentum should continue in the autumn," said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

Year-to-date grain shipments via the Seaway (including U.S. and Canadian grain) totaled 4.2 million metric tons, up 7.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.  Canadian grain shipments, which represent 3.3 million metric tons of the volume, were up 3 per cent while U.S. grain was up nearly 32 per cent.

Prairie grain elevators have been busy the past several weeks at the Port of Thunder Bay.  For only the second time in 20 years, July grain volumes surpassed 800,000 metric tons. The surge brings the grain tally at the port in line with the previous season and four per cent greater than the five-year average.

 

Tim Heney, President and CEO of Thunder Bay Port Authority, said: "We are optimistic for another strong fall season of grain movement in Thunder Bay.  Carryover on the Prairies is higher than normal for this time of year, particularly in Saskatchewan where the majority of Seaway grain comes from.  Recent grain deliveries by CN and CP are trending well ahead of last year."

It also continues to be an excellent year for grain at the Port of Hamilton. Close to a million metric tons has been shipped this season, with almost 60 per cent of that being overseas exports of Ontario-grown corn.

Year-to-date coal shipments are also an area of strength on the St. Lawrence Seaway, totaling 1.2 million metric tons, up 33 per cent over the same period last year. Year-to-date liquid bulk shipments via the Seaway, which include petroleum and asphalt products among others, totaled 2.3 million metric tons - up 25 per cent.  Dry bulk shipments are down 9 per cent, due to a decrease in salt shipments. But within the dry bulk category, stone shipments were up 27 per cent and cement shipments were up 26 per cent. For its part, iron ore was down 15 per cent at3.2 million metric tons. (photo Paul Beesley)

 
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