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.

McInnis Cement announced its plans to utilize a first of its kind, ecologically efficient, self-discharging dry bulk cement carrier. The 15,000 deadweight tonne vessel will be time chartered by the company under a long-term agreement. The ship, which was built in 2011, is currently undergoing conversion in China to a cement carrier by its owner, NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers Limited. The conversion will include the installation of a state-of-the-art cement unloading system delivered by Van Aalst Marine & Offshore, as well as, a hybrid exhaust gas scrubber system capable of operating in both fresh and salt waters.

“We are pleased to establish this new relationship with NovaAlgoma and Van Aalst that will allow us to take advantage of their cutting edge technology, attention to ecological details and their long-term marine transportation and cargo handling expertise”, said McInnis Cement Vice President Logistics and Distribution, Mark Newhart. He noted that the anticipated delivery of the vessel is scheduled for early 2017.

“Developing a modern state of the art cement carrier for McInnis Cement is a very exciting project for NovaAlgoma and builds upon our objective to operate the most modern and technologically advanced cement carriers in the world. The ship will be Canadian flagged, employing Canadian sailors”, added Wayne Smith on behalf of NovaAlgoma.

Wijnand van Aalst, CEO of Van Aalst Group commented: “The McInnis project will be a showcase of how the Van Aalst signature vacuum – pressure technology in cement carriers will result into high performance, low emissions and an unsurpassed reliability. The productive and professional partnership approach between McInnis, NovaAlgoma and ourselves has proven to be very successful in achieving and exceeding the requirements of the project.”

The scrubber system will enable the ship to be fully compliant with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marpol Annex VI Sulphur Oxide (SOx) regulations, regardless of the fuel being used within the North American ECA (emissions control area) which includes Canadian and US coastal waters and the Great Lakes.

NovaAlgoma is a 50/50 joint venture between Algoma Central Corporation and Nova Marine Holding SA of Luxemburg dedicated to building a global fleet of modern cement carriers to support infrastructure projects worldwide. Van Aalst Marine & Offshore specializes in (bulk) cement handling equipment on vessels and barges. With more than 850 vessels outfitted, Van Aalst is the world’s leading company in this market. Van Aalst Marine & Offshore is part of the Van Aalst Group.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on August 11 that Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec said it would take control of the project that had been hit by massive cost overruns, and agreed to a new $250 million round of financing to complete it.

A spokesperson for the Caisse said the McInnis Cement project faced between $400 and $450 million in cost overruns and that it had insisted on a “change of control and a change in management” for the $1.1 billion cement project in Quebec’s Gaspe peninsula. The change will give the Caisse a controlling stake in Beaudier Ciment, the controlling shareholder of McInnis, the spokesman said. Beaudier, the private investment arm of the founding family of Canadian plane and trainmaker Bombardier Inc, will now hold a minority stake in Beaudier Ciment.

The project was launched in 2014 with the target of producing up to 2.5 million tonnes of cement a year. It was backed by the Quebec government which contributed $350 million in investment and loans. Beaudier contributed $150 million to the project, local media reported at the time.

With files provided by Reuters and Caisse de dépot et placement du Quebec