A wave of optimism with Seaway opening

By Alex Binkley

When it comes to the prospects for a new navigation season on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes, Terence Bowles and Craig Middlebrook have to sound optimistic. This year might justify upbeat comments the President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the Deputy Administrator of Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation offer in separate interviews.

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With rejuvenated rosters, shipping lines prepared for new Seaway season

By Alex Binkley

With steadily growing rosters of modern vessels, Canadian shipping lines are hoping for a strong start to the 2017 season so their new assets can show their worth. Louis Martel, Executive Vice-President and Incoming CEO of the CSL Group, says tough times in the global maritime industry in recent years have his company clearly focused on ways to improve its bottom line. “Amid the continued volatility, we at Canada Steamship Lines are staying focused on reducing costs, gaining efficiencies and improving the overall performance and flexibility of our operations by taking full advantage of our modern fleet and leveraging new technologies. Shipping markets are by nature cyclical, but the uncertainty we have witnessed in the past few years is unprecedented in recent history, and putting enormous pressures on shipping companies worldwide. We hope to see a market recovery in 2017, but we’re not counting on it,” he added. “Although the 2016 Great Lakes shipping season was better than originally expected thanks to an uptake in grain demand in the fall, we are very far from the types of results we were seeing in previous years.”

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Old issues plague Seaway when future focus is needed

By Alex Binkley

Higher pilotage costs and ballast treatment uncertainties are among the unresolved issues that could mar any hopes for a Seaway-Great Lakes revival. Last year the Conference of Great Lakes Governors and Premiers issued a blueprint for boosting shipping in the region while the review of the Canada Transportation Act also pointed to the need to encourage short sea shipping in Canada, including the Great Lakes.

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Iron ore exports keep St. Lawrence Seaway shipping on course

A surge of North American iron ore exports to Japan and China is keeping the St. Lawrence Seaway bustling in the critical months before the shipping season winds down, with over a million metric tonnes of iron ore pellets for export anticipated to be shipped via the inland waterway by the end of the shipping season. On a year-to-date basis, 4.5 million metric tonnes of iron ore were shipped through the Seaway, compared with just over 5.0 million tonnes during the same time in 2015.

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Bumper grain harvests lift St. Lawrence Seaway shipments

Strong movements of North American grain and renewed iron ore export activity in September have spearheaded an upswing in shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

From the waterway’s opening on March 21 to the end of September, shipments of Canadian and U.S. grain hit 5.8 million metric tonnes, in line with the healthy volumes experienced in 2015. Overall, some 21.2 million metric tonnes of cargo transited the Seaway’s locks, down 5.3 per cent from 2015 shipping volumes during the same period of time.

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Davie sticks with Aubut for STQ talks

By Mark Cardwell

Alex Vicefield says he’s aware of the spectacular fall from public grace of Marcel Aubut, who stepped down last fall as President of the Canadian Olympic Committee amid numerous allegations of sexual and personal harassment of staff members. But Vicefield, who is CEO of Davie Canada’s parent company, Inocea Group, says the shamed Quebec City lawyer remains the right person to represent the shipyard in its contract dispute with the Quebec government over the construction costs of two high-tech ferries. “Marcel hasn’t been charged with any crimes,” Vicefield told Canadian Sailings from his home office in Monaco in late August. “The key thing for us is that he is a good communicator and he still receives a good reception from key government people.”

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Great Lakes/Seaway promoted as project cargo conduit

By Keith Norbury

A panel of industry experts will share its candid insights in Texas this fall on the movement of breakbulk and project cargo on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

The occasion is a panel discussion, titled “Wind and Steel: Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Seaway Overview,” taking place at the Breakbulk Americas Conference in Houston in late September.

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McInnis Cement announces plans for new cement carrier

McInnis Cement is a privately-held company that is in the process of constructing a large scale cement plant in Port-Daniel–Gascons, Quebec that will serve Eastern Canada and New England. The new plant will be the first in this market area to be constructed in more than 50 years. The company is constructing a deep-water marine terminal, adjacent to the plant, with plans to open other terminals strategically located in the U.S. and Canada. This will allow products to be shipped quickly and efficiently to markets along the East Coast and the entire perimeter of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Port of Sept-Îles’ and Quebec’s purchase of land and storage facilities opens up new shipping opportunities for North Shore iron miners

Two major acquisitions in early 2016 involving Port of Sept-Îles herald the beginning of a new era for the facility, says Port President Pierre Gagnon. “There have been a lot of dark clouds for us and our iron ore producer partners here in recent years,” says Gagnon. “But these deals have brightened the sky and cleared the path ahead for us.”

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