Vessel of Cleveland-Europe Express completes maiden voyage


The first ship on a regularly scheduled commercial service with Europe in more than four decades offering container space on the Great Lakes completed its maiden voyage in Cleveland on April 22. The MV Fortunagracht , a multi-purpose vessel operated by the Amsterdam-based Spliethoff Group, arrived with a cargo of breakbulk, containers and project cargo.

It subsequently departed for Antwerp via the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway with cargo that included a school bus, machinery to create roads, and containerized goods from five U.S. states bound for seven European destinations.

The fact that the ship left half full was regarded as an encouraging sign for shippers, the shipping line and the Port of Cleveland. "It was a good voyage and a good start,"  Torin Swartout, VP of Spliethoff, told Maritime Magazine.

Initially, the CEE service is monthly. Stakeholders hope that market demand will lead to fortnightly frequency.

Former Manchester Liners was the last carrier to offer container transport between Europe and the Great Lakes in the 1960s.

"We look forward to seeing the service grow, " said Will Friedman, President and CEO of the Port of Cleveland. 'We estimate the service will carry anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 tons of cargo per year."

It notably allows regional companies to ship their goods up to four days faster than using water, rail and truck via U.S, East Coast ports.  (Photo: Port of Cleveland)



Simon Pelletier elected President of IMPA


Capt. Simon Pelletier, President of the Canadian Marine Pilots' Association since 2009, has been elected President of the International Marine Pilots' Association which this week is holding its 22nd Biennial Congress in Panama. IMPA comprises 50 member states.

On the opening day of the Congress, Capt. Pelletier, IMPA Vice-President since 2008, was elected President of IMPA, by a strong majority of the votes cast, for a four-year term.

Canada's delegation at the event is amongst the largest, continuing a well-established tradition extending over two decades.

Upon his election, Capt. Pelletier said his appointment confirmed a widespread appreciation of Canada's pilots and pilotage system at an international level. He indicated that a major priority will be to ensure that IMPA continues to maintain constructive relationships with international maritime stakeholders - in particular the International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in London.

Based in Québec City, Capt. Pelletier is an active pilot in the Lower St. Lawrence District.  (photo CMPA)


Transport Canada transfers Sarnia port to City of Sarnia


Transport Canada officially announced on March 28 the transfer of the Sarnia Port Facility to the City of Sarnia under the Port Divestiture Program. The transfer agreement includes a contribution of over $8.5 million from the federal government to cover operational costs and maintain the Port's infrastructure.

"As the new owner and operator of the Sarnia Port facility, we have acquired a major infrastructure asset that will contribute to the economic growth of our City," said Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

The transferred port on Lake Ontario consists of two parts located in the northerly harbour and the southerly harbour. The northerly harbour portion is comprised of the Government Wharf which includes warehousing buildings, the East Dock Face, and the North Slip. The southerly harbour portion is comprised primarily of water lots distributed intermittently along portions of the length of the developed Sarnia waterfront. (photo: Paul Beesley)


Seaway opens 56th season with cargo increase anticipated


The 56th navigation season of the St. Lawrence Seaway opened on March 28th with the transit of Algoma Central Corporation's newly built ship, the Algoma Equinox, through Lock 3 of the Welland Canal at St. Catharines, Ontario.

The season got off to its latest start since 2009 as a result of the worst ice conditions in several decades. Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers were working feverishly to clear channels for shipping through Seaway locks and on the Great Lakes.

"Algoma Central Corporation's fleet renewal is a leading example of the unprecedented level of investment that is happening throughout our navigation system," said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the SLSMC. "The Seaway alone is spending almost $500 million on modernizing its infrastructure - the biggest transformation in five decades."

Mr. Bowles forecast that cargo volume this year will exceed 38 million tonnes versus just over 37 million tonnes in 2013. "The U.S. and European economies are improving, and this trend gives us reason to be optimistic," Mr. Bowles said, adding: "We also expect to play a significant role in exporting Canada's bumper grain crop to overseas markets."

The Algoma Equinox is the first of eight Equinox-class ships that are being purpose-built for trading in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

"The Algoma Equinox carries more cargo, sails faster, consumes significantly less fuel and is the first Great Lakes vessel to be equipped with a scrubbing system that virtually eliminates sulphur oxide from its emissions.  These advancements will benefit communities throughout the region and also ensure that our customers - North American industries and farmers - remain competitive on the global stage," said Algoma Central