Great Lakes short sea shipping begins with Ont. scrap-metal barge

The following is the text of a press release issued by the Hamilton Port Authority:
(HAMILTON, Ontario) — The Hamilton Port Authority will launch its short sea shipping initiative with a dedicated container feeder vessel bound for India and Pakistan via the Montreal Gateway Terminal.

The shipment, for Sunrise Metals, is centered around recycled metals, primarily sourced locally and in the Golden Horseshoe. It consists of 68 containers which will be barged to Montreal by Hamilton based McKeil Marine and be routed from there by Maersk and CMA CGM, two of the top five container lines in the world.

This first of its kind shipment marks a significant step in the advancement of Great Lakes short sea shipping through the development of viable container feeder services linking with both Halifax and Montreal. Short sea shipping, a significant component to goods movement throughout Europe, has been increasingly identified as providing long term sustainability for the Seaway.

“We’ve invested a significant amount of time with a number of port partners over the past two months making this long-discussed concept a reality with this trial shipment,” said HPA president and CEO Bruce Wood. “Making this specialized type of service an important piece of the port’s traffic connecting to Canada’s East Coast ports is a central part of our overall Hamilton Port Authority strategy.”

“We have great faith in the Hamilton Port Authority’s ability to make this service a sustainable and economically viable option for us,” said Amandeep Singh Kaloti, president of Sunrise Metals. “The ability to ship via vessel containerized cargo from Hamilton to Montreal and Halifax for transfer to global markets provides us with a great opportunity to operate efficiently in the Golden Horseshoe.”

Global economic conditions are forcing many sectors to evaluate further cost saving measures and programs. Transportation costs are a substantial constituent of the total supply chain and one which is not insular to recent downturns in the economy. It is hoped the trial will act as a stimulus for other products to move via the waterways and incent future cargo volume to consider the marine alternative. Short Sea Shipping has been promoted by Canada’s Federal Government and was recently supported in a speech by United States President-elect Barack Obama.

The trial supports the push in identifying new short sea shipping opportunities in line with the St. Lawrence Seaway’s Highway H2O program which promotes the waterways available capacity and infrastructure. The move is being applauded by stakeholders including The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC). Richard Corfe, SLSMC president and CEO commented “We are very pleased to see the development of this trial feeder service from the Port of Hamilton. It is a positive sign for short sea shipping on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System and demonstrates the viability of moving containers via the waterway.”

The Hamilton Port Authority is committed to being a leader in the economic, environmental and social vitality of Ontario. The port sees the largest volume of traffic and tonnage among Canadian Great Lakes ports.

By Professional Mariner Staff