Ports of Thunder Bay and Hamilton diversifying their customer base

Ports of Thunder Bay and Hamilton diversifying their customer base

By Alex Binkley

Grain shipments have long been the staple business of the port of Thunder Bay, and the port of Hamilton is well known for its connection with the city’s steel industry. While those commodities will remain important to their financial health in the future, the two Port Authorities have been working to diversify their customer bases and in recent months have landed federal support for expansion projects.

(more…)

Shipping lines optimistic about 2019 prospects on the Great Lakes

Shipping lines optimistic about 2019 prospects on the Great Lakes

By Alex Binkley

Great Lakes ship operators are divided on their prospects for 2019 with Algoma Central, Canada Steamship Lines and Fednav cautiously optimistic that they will be at least as busy as in 2018. The 6.8 per cent increase in cargo handled by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in 2018 over 2017 adds to their confidence.

(more…)

Hamilton and Oshawa ports could be merged under surprise federal proposal

Hamilton and Oshawa ports could be merged under surprise federal proposal

By Alex Binkley

Transport Minister Marc Garneau surprised the Hamilton and Oshawa Port Authorities by proposing they be amalgamated into a new entity. “This action is being taken to improve port efficiencies and planning in the region,” Garneau said in a statement. “This amalgamation represents an opportunity to take advantage of emerging business opportunities and to increase economic growth and develop the supply chain in this densely populated region. The integration of port activities in the two cities “is expected to enhance investment and trade opportunities, and contribute to Canada’s global competitiveness,” he said. (more…)

Despite sharply higher volumes at Trois-Rivières and Belledune, port volume growth generally disappointed in 2018

By Alex Binkley

After strong performance in 2017, with aggregate volumes up 7.7 per cent over 2016, Canada’s 18 Port Authorities generally reported volumes matching those of 2017, or modest increases. 2018 volumes were up over 2017 by 2.4 per cent, which represented only a slight increase over estimated population growth during the period of 1.2 per cent, or 12-month GDP growth of 1.7 per cent. Some ports, notably Hamilton, Trois-Rivières and Belledune, recorded strong increases in tonnage handled during 2018. Will the entry into force in late last year of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership open markets to Canadian products across Asia? And will year two of the European free trade deal boost exports across the Atlantic?

(more…)

Shipping lines and ports gear up for project cargo business on the Great Lakes

Shipping lines and ports gear up for project cargo business on the Great Lakes

By Alex Binkley

Spliethoff, operating under the name BigLift, and McKeil Marine have geared up to serve the demand for project cargo shipments on the Seaway/Great Lakes. Their preparation has been matched by the ports of Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Johnston and Valleyfield as well as several U.S. harbours. However, just how much project cargo moves through the Seaway-Great Lakes is hard to pin down because the St. Lawrence Seaway doesn’t report project cargo volumes as a separate category. It’s included in the general cargo category and to the end of September, general cargo passing through the Seaway stood at 2.2 million tonnes, down 6.2 per cent compared to same period in 2017. (more…)

Fatigue among transportation workers remains ongoing Safety Board worry

Fatigue among transportation workers remains ongoing Safety Board worry

By Alex Binkley

Fatigued flight, railway and ship crews are a long-standing concern of the Transportation Safety Board and it hasn’t seen enough improvement on the issue to remove it from its watchlist of safety concerns. Board Chair Kathy Fox told a news conference fatigue has been an issue in more than 90 investigations since the TSB was created in 1990. The Board routinely investigates if fatigue was a factor in transportation accidents or incidents, and if it was, it examines whether the operator had measures in place to prevent operations with tired workers. (more…)