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Freighters make final push to carry out grain before St. Lawrence Seaway closes




Immediate Release                                                                                   

Freighters make final push to carry out grain before St. Lawrence Seaway closes

Ottawa, Ontario Ocean-going and domestic ships are making a final push to carry Canada’s record grain crop to market with just two weeks left before the St. Lawrence Seaway shipping season comes to close.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: “Based on the number of vessels we’re seeing in the system right now, we’re expecting a strong finish for the season.”

Prairie grain is being steadily railed to the Port of Thunder Bay without any delays. Tim Heney, CEO for the Thunder Bay Port Authority, said he was expecting more than a million tonnes to be shipped out of the port in December.  “It was a good month in November, but December is shaping up to be even bigger than that.  In the last two months, we have also seen the opening of a second terminal by Richardson International at our port and the announcement by CWB that they will buy Mission Terminals and Les Élévateurs des Trois-Rivières.  That’s a huge vote of confidence in our navigation system.”

Hodgson said that the size of the Canadian crop means that there will be a large carry over of grain to ship at the start of the 2014 season in the spring.

Peter Rowe, vice-president of Cargill Ltd, one of Canada’s largest food merchandisers and processers, said: “With a record crop in Western Canada and strong demand from foreign buyers there is a need for export outlets to move our farm customers’ grains and oilseeds. We expect both a strong start to the 2014 shipping season and a continued need throughout the year to move this production through the St. Lawrence Seaway system to access markets.”

One of the vessels currently transiting the system is the Algoma Equinox, which is the first of Algoma Central Corporation’s eight new environmentally-advanced Equinox class ships to arrive to trade in the Great Lakes-Seaway system. The Algoma Equinox, which produces 45 per cent less emissions and green house gases per tonne kilometre and is equipped with exhaust scrubbing systems that virtually eliminate sulphur oxide emissions, made its first trip into the St. Lawrence Seaway in December carrying iron ore from Port Cartier to ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s Hamilton facility.  Greg Wight, CEO of Algoma Central Corporation, says: “We were very pleased to have the Algoma Equinox arrive in time to carry a few loads before the season closes.  Three or four more of the new Equinox class ships will arrive throughout 2014 and we expect that they will be very busy carrying iron ore into the Lakes and transporting Prairie grain out to transshipment ports in Quebec.”

Separately, the Port of Windsor was reporting a very strong shipping season with year-to-November 30 cargo totaling 5,492,186 tonnes, up 9.3 per cent over the same period last year.

David Cree, CEO of the Windsor Port Authority, said: “The Port of Windsor is continuing to handle near record levels of stone and construction aggregate being utilized for the construction of the new Herb Gray Parkway.  In addition, very strong volumes of petroleum products handled through Sterling Fuels facility are projected to push 2013 totals to nearly six million tonnes.”

At the Port of Oshawa, which handles salt, steel products, asphalt and grain — much of which travels through the St. Lawrence Seaway, officials were optimistic about the prospects for 2014.

“Based on our conversations with potential customers, we are very optimistic about the future,” said Gary Valcour, Chair of the Oshawa Port Authority. “We’re providing the governance stability, rail service and expansion needed to meet the growing demands of current and prospective port customers. This will allow the port to play an even greater role in supporting the local and regional economy in 2014.”

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and annually generates $14 billion in salary and wages, $34.6 billion in business revenue, and $4.6 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes. North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers, and power generators depend on the 164 million metric tons of essential raw materials and finished products that are moved annually on the system.

For more information: Andrew Bogora, Communications and Public Relations Officer, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation on abogora@seaway.caor (613) 932-5170 x 3285.

Follow Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping news on http://www.localhost:10089 and on Twitter @MarineDelivers.


Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the positive economic and environmental benefits, safety, energy efficiency, and sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes-Seaway System. The Marine Delivers initiative is administered by the American Great Lakes Ports Association in the United States, and the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Canada. 

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national association that represents diverse marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as Canadian domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system's significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:
Jason Card
Chamber of Marine Commerce
(613) 447 5401