By Teresa Boutet
Morterm Limited has always prided itself on being able to handle any type of cargo from any type of vessel operating on the Great Lakes – St Lawrence Seaway system. A fixture on Windsor’s waterfront since 1959, the terminal is the only full-‐service marine facility in the Port of Windsor. It was known as Morton Terminal Limited until 1983 when a group of local investors purchased the terminal facility and the shortline railway that served
it from Morton Salt. Over the next several years, investments totaling millions of dollars were made to improve infrastructure and transform the terminal into a first-‐class facility. With a 400-‐tonne crawler crane, a sizeable fleet of material handling equipment ranging from warehouse fork trucks to large steel handling lift trucks and reach stackers, Morterm is well-‐suited for the loading or discharge of cargoes to and from any vessel able to operate within the St. Lawrence Seaway system. Additionally, the rail connection with Morterm’s sister Company, The Essex Terminal Railway, provides customers with rail access throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Morterm’s success and longevity is due in great part to its long serving staff. Greg Steel, the company’s Terminal Manager handling the day-‐to-‐day activities has worked at the terminal for 34 years. He is supported by a dedicated, well-‐trained and safety-‐conscious staff that are also very experienced. Terry Berthiaume, President and CEO and Teresa Boutet, Vice-‐President, have more than 50 years of combined service.
Services offered by the terminal have constantly evolved: from handling tobacco, canned goods, liquor and agricultural products in the 60’s, to lumber and bulk cargo in the 70’s and 80’s. In the 1990’s, steel products constituted most of the activity. It seemed that even decades ago, Morterm survived by re-‐inventing itself. This has never been truer. As wind power generation gained popularity, Morterm actively pursued opportunities in the field. Initially, components arrived from Europe, but in recent years, many components are being sourced from North American manufacturers with shipments mainly by rail.
Morterm’s facilities – particularly the very large outside storage compounds – are well suited for wind turbine components. There is convenient access to highways and the entrance to the Detroit-‐Windsor Truck Ferry is located just outside Morterm’s gate, providing direct cross-‐border transit for wind turbine components, dangerous goods and dimensional loads.
While stevedoring volumes have declined in recent years due to consolidation in the steel industry and the global financial crisis, rail shipments have increased. Loading of steel tubes and round piling to railcars for a local tube manufacturer has become a steady business stream. Last year, Morterm trans-‐loaded approximately 18,000 tonnes of steel pilings from rail to truck for use in the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway (formerly the Windsor-‐Essex Parkway) – a $1.4 billion highway infrastructure project under construction in the Windsor area.
Construction of the Parkway provided a unique opportunity for Morterm. The availability of large amounts of clean clay fill made it possible to in-‐fill an unused and shallow portion of the vessel slip. Working with the Parkway contractor, compensating fish habitat was created and approximately 18,000 truckloads of clay were received. The in-‐filling shored up aging dock walls and will provide additional storage yards for future needs.
Recently, a Presidential permit was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama facilitating construction of the new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor. The new connection will be located within a few kilometers of Morterm’s yards and will further enhance transportation between the terminal and U.S. destinations.
Teresa Boutet is Vice-President of Morterm Limited.