Seaway upbeat about 2018 season

Seaway upbeat about 2018 season

By Alex Binkley

There was an upbeat mood in the air as the March 29 official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway approached, fueled by a nearly 9 per cent growth in business during 2017, and warm February temperatures that cooled fears of extensive ice coverage on the Great Lakes as in 2014.

However, threats by President Trump to impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum cast a shadow over the optimism. Bruce Hodgson, the Seaway’s Director of Market Development, said it had become difficult to offer any certainty in predicting 2018 traffic levels.

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New ships are showing their worth, Great Lakes-Seaway operators say

New ships are showing their worth, Great Lakes-Seaway operators say

By Alex Binkley

The new freighters that have joined the fleets of Great Lakes shipping lines in recent years are showing their worth and even leading to consideration of additional orders.

Canada Steamship Lines has its state-of-the-art Trillium class ships and Algoma Central its Equinox vessels. Built to take advantage of new technology and designs, the vessels address shipowner needs to stress efficiency in their operations.

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Port community loses two long-serving executives

By Alex Binkley

David Cree will step down as President and CEO of Windsor Port Authority this year, the second veteran port boss to retire in recent months. Last year it was Don Krusel who retired as President and CEO of Prince Rupert Port Authority. Krusel is widely seen as the architect of Prince Rupert’s rise to prominence from coastal obscurity while Cree showed the way to keep a small port nimble and vital to the local community.

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Ottawa in discussions on icebreakers with Chantier Davie

By Alex Binkley

Such is the political embarrassment caused by the sorry state of the Canadian icebreaking fleet that Prime Minister Trudeau personally announced in mid-January the launch of negotiations with Chantier Davie Canada Inc. for the lease of four icebreakers. The move came a month after Michael Byers, a UBC Professor and Arctic expert, issued an urgent call for Ottawa to change course on its plan to build a heavy duty polar icebreaker when what is needed are four or five medium-duty icebreakers. He said in his report Onto the Rocks that Davie was the logical candidate for the contract because it has already refitted Louis St. Laurent, Canada’s old icebreaker, and converted a container ship into a navy resupply vessel. Davie had already offered to refit American polar icebreakers for service in Canada. The federal-Davie negotiations were continuing as Canadian Sailings was going to press and neither side would comment on the details.

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Ports want action on replacing old infrastructure to meet anticipated export growth

Ports want action on replacing old infrastructure to meet anticipated export growth

By Alex Binkley

With two trade agreements in hand and exports of grain and other food products on the rise, Canada’s major ports are under pressure to replace aging infrastructure, says Wendy Zatylny, President of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA). In a late January interview about issues facing the ports as well as during an appearance before the Senate agriculture committee in late 2017, she raised the need for the 18 main Port Authorities to deal with antiquated infrastructure. Zatylny says that positive economic signs plus the free trade deal with Europe that came into effect last year and the Comprehensive and Progress Trans-Pacific Partnership pact to be signed in March add to the reasons the ports want to proceed with infrastructure replacement and upgrades. The ports “currently have a $1.9 billion requirement to replace legacy infrastructure, and also require funding to support advanced infrastructure while handling this increased throughput,” she said. The $1.9 billion in projects were identified in a study conducted jointly with Transport Canada to identify the overall port needs, she said, and “an additional $4 billion is needed for other infrastructure projects”.

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