Seaway optimistic its 60th anniversary will be a year of strong results

Seaway optimistic its 60th anniversary will be a year of strong results

By Alex Binkley

Having posted its best results in a decade last year, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) is hoping to better that performance in 2019 as its marks its 60th anniversary. The Welland Canal will open on March 22 followed by the Montreal-Lake Ontario section on March 26. The Soo Locks are scheduled to open March 25.

The 40.9 million tonnes of cargo that passed through the Seaway system in 2018 was 6.7 per cent higher than in 2017, and the best result since 2007. More than 12 million tonnes of grain passed through the waterway, the largest amount in two decades, and accounted for almost 20 per cent of the traffic. Dry bulk goods shipments came in at 10.7 million tonnes followed by iron ore at 7.3 million tonnes, trailed by liquid bulk, general cargo and coal. SLSMC has announced a toll rate increase of 1 per cent for the 2019 navigation season. (more…)

Seaway’s 60th anniversary has deep roots

Seaway’s 60th anniversary has deep roots

By Alex Binkley

While the Seaway marks its 60th anniversary this year, the idea for a deep draft waterway between the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River has deep historical roots. The Seaway was officially opened on June 26, 1959, by Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and President Dwight Eisenhower.

The vision of a seaway can be traced back to 1895 when the joint U.S.-Canadian Deep Waterways Commission was formed to study the feasibility of building such a waterway. Historical accounts say that was followed by an International Joint Commission study in 1909, but no action was taken. By 1900, a complete network of shallow draft canals allowed uninterrupted navigation from Lake Superior to Montreal. The first real step in creating the modern Seaway came in 1932 with the completion of the fourth Welland Canal. (more…)

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.

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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.

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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?

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