Stars align for Canadian laker fleet renewal

csl-baie-st-paulMAY 31, 2013 — Canada's Great Lakes fleet is being rejuvenated with the addition of ships by three major carriers, Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), Algoma Central and Fednav.

According to CSL President Rod Jones, "in 2010 the stars aligned" for Canadian owners to start their newbuilding spree, with the removal of a 25 percent import duty on new ships, a rise in the value of the Canadian dollar and a collapse in world shipbuilding prices.

Trillium class laker Baie St. Paul

CSL's newbuilding program includes four Trillium class self-unloading lakers and two laker bulkers. The first Trillium self-unloading laker, Baie St. Paul, has been operating in the Great Lakes since December 2012 while the second, Whitefish Bay, set sail from Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China, for Montreal on May 16.

Algoma Central Corporation is building a series of two Equinox class gearless bulk carriers and four self-unloading Equinox bulkers at the Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in Nantong, China. Another two Equinox gearless bulkers will be owned by the Canadian Wheat Board but will be operated and managed by Algoma.

According to Rod Jones, between them CSL and rival Algoma are investing more than $500 million in as many as 18 modern ships.

"These new ships are going to be greener, cleaner and more efficient than all other lakers," he says. "We're doing this because we understand our social contract to operate depends on our ability to operate cleanly and safely."


Yesterday, privately held Fednav Limited, announced that it is adding six 34,000 dwt lakers to its newbuilding program in Japan.

Ordered with Sumitomo Corporation and Oshima Shipbuilding, the environmentally advanced vessels are adapted to the dimensions of the St. Lawrence Seaway and are specially equipped for navigating in ice.They will be built with "box" holds, better suited to a variety of general cargo like steel and project cargo.

Fednav's Federal Satsuki, delivered last year by Oshima Shipbuilding

"This investment highlights Fednav's commitment to the Great Lakes, and to our customers and partners in the industrial heart of North America," said Paul Pathy, Fednav President and Co-CEO, upon signing of the contract. These vessels will share the environmental characteristics of the previous six Lakers ordered at the Oshima shipyard: they will consume 28 percent less fuel and produce 28 percent less emissions than a previous series of vessels built by Oshima Shipyard for Fednav ten years ago.

They will carry the DNV "CLEAN-DESIGN" and will be delivered between May and November 2015, as part of a series of 27 new ships (of which 14 are Lakers) added to Fednav's fleet since January 1, 2012.

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