By Leo Ryan, Editor
There will be no follow-up this year to the first dedicated container shipment via the St. Lawrence Seaway in four decades to a Great Lakes port. This was confirmed, in an interview, by Alexandre Beauchamp-Parent, President of Navigation Desgagnés, which last month deployed a geared, self-unloading vessel to transport nearly 400 containers from Montreal to the Port of Toronto to facilitate deliveries to receivers of congestion-delayed cargo.
The shipment , responding to a container backlog at the Port of Montreal and on the railway network, was carried out by the general cargo vessel Claude A. Desgagnés, part of the fleet of Quebec City-based Groupe Desgagnés. It was coordinated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, Groupe Desgagnés, the Port of Montreal, the Port of Toronto, Termont, and Logistec Stevedoring.
“Other voyages were planned after the one on October 20 from Montreal to the Port of Toronto,” Mr. Beauchamp-Parent said. “We had a window. But congestion and other issues arose in Toronto and prevented us from continuing before the closing of the Seaway season. Things are all in the timing.”
Continued Mr. Beauchamp-Parent: « We feel that with some improvements, the model can be economically feasible.
“One thing is certain, we have been very grateful to have partnered with MSC in such a shortsea option that has long been sought by various stakeholders in the Great Lakes.
« It was a very positive experience for us, the Port of Montreal and MSC. We want to look at ways of making such voyages more predictable in the future.”
According to Mr. Beauchamp-Parent, the geared general-cargo vessels typically used by Desgagnés during its summer Arctic sealifts represent an excellent fit for shortsea ventures of this kind. “We are always looking for creative solution opportunities and alterative options to transportation problems.” (photo MSC)