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.
By R. Bruce Striegler
Viterra Inc.’s Vancouver Cascadia and Pacific Terminals
Viterra operates six port facilities in its network, shipping grains, oilseeds and pulses to customers in over fifty countries. This includes the Cascadia and Pacific Terminals at the Port of Vancouver. The Cascadia terminal handles wheat, durum, canola, barley and rye, with a storage capacity of 280,000 tonnes. Over the past several years, Viterra invested more than $100 million in the Pacific Terminal, which opened in 2016 and tripled the terminal’s annual handling capacity to more than six million tonnes. Originally constructed in the 1920s, the Pacific Terminal is comprised of the original National Harbours Board facility and the original Alberta Pacific Grain Co. Viterra assumed ownership in 2007.
By Brian Dunn
Although the town of Sept-Îles has a population of only 25,000, it punches above its weight in maritime shipping and is one of the bigger terminal operations for Quebec Stevedoring Co. Ltd. (QSL) which has 30 port facilities, stretching from St. John’s in the east to Chicago in the west.
It’s not only mining that drives QSL, although it accounts for the bulk of its business in Sept-Îles, according to QSL CEO Robert Bellisle who noted the company will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018.
By Mark Cardwell
Pierre Gagnon is no stranger to the business of mining iron ore. A mining engineer by trade, he worked several years for Quebec Cartier Mining (now part of ArcelorMittal) in the town of Fermont before joining Port of Sept-Îles as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2002. Since then, Gagnon has been working to help the Port’s major clients deal with the challenges of reaching global markets with the 80 billion tonnes of high quality iron ore reserve known to exist in the Labrador Trough.
By Mark Cardwell
The port of Sept-Îles is quickly becoming a popular international cruise ship destination in Eastern Canada. Eight years after its inaugural cruise season, when it welcomed three ships with 5,000 passengers, the port was visited eight times by five different ships carrying a total of 8,000 passengers during the 2017 sailing season.
The last and most notable visit was an unexpected stopover by the Queen Mary 2. The 350-metre-long ship was scheduled to make its inaugural visit to Sept-Îles on Sept. 28, 2018. However, the Cunard-owned transatlantic ocean liner made an unscheduled stop on October 2, and berthed there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 8-hour stop was booked just two weeks earlier to replace a visit to the port of Gaspé that Cunard cancelled over the speed limit that Canada imposed in a section of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence to protect endangered right whales.
By Keith Norbury
The Hudson Bay Railway line proved no match for the uneven, boggy terrain of the Hudson Bay Lowlands this spring. On June 9, a news release from OmniTrax Inc., its owner, said it had suspended service indefinitely on the railway from Amery, 29 rail miles northeast of Gillam, to Churchill — a section it had been unable to operate since May 23. A preliminary assessment by an independent engineering firm found the flooding had washed the track bed away in 19 locations, the release said. The flood “visibly damaged” five bridges with another 30 bridges and 600 culverts needing further assessment.