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ANALYSISCANADA


Hansa Heavy Lift unloads windmill towers at Thunder Bay.


authority’s investment in its new Liebherr mobile harbour crane. With its 100+ tonne lift capacity and substantial radius, this important piece of infrastructure, installed last summer, is a critical tool in attracting heavy lift cargo destined for the oil sands.” However, Tim Heney, president of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, reported that though project cargo movements got off to a slow start this year, things are expected to pick up in the second half. “In the meantime, we expect shipments to arrive in July from the UK and Germany for equipment supplied to potash mine projects.”


Marine shipments maintain solid pace


Across Canada, project cargo and heavy lift operations continue to attract stevedoring firms and ports that recognise the great potential of this expanding niche business in a country with a wide range of mining and energy undertakings. Leo Ryan reports.


n the east coast at Montreal based Logistec Stevedoring, which operates Canada’s largest terminal network, the outlook is upbeat. Chris Doiron, general manager sales, noted that 2012 represented a record year in wind turbine shipments at Thunder Bay, on the tip of Lake Superior, with the arrival of 11 vessels carrying wind cargo components destined for projects in Western Canada. “We expect wind cargo volumes in the short term to stall somewhat, but in 2014 and beyond we expect good traction in this important cargo sector,” he commented. “Through the marketing efforts of the entire port community, we have seen Thunder Bay establishing itself as the gateway to Western Canada for oil sands bound project cargo,” Doiron stated. “Our partner railways, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National, have worked hard to address clearance concerns and the port and its partners are investing heavily to support this business. This is most evident with the port


O


Jumbo Shipping loads process towers, manufactured by Hooper Engineered Vessels International, at Hamilton.


www.heavyliftpfi.com


Ironically, noted Doiron, the busiest port where Logistec handles oil sands cargo is the port that is furthest to the east: Halifax. “Thanks to Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ ro-ro service calling weekly at the port, Logistec regularly handles excavation and crane equipment destined for Western Canada’s oil sands.” Moreover, industry observers point out, Halifax is preparing for more project cargo opportunities with the scheduled CAD73 million (USD69.4 million) upgrading of its Richmond Terminal by 2014. The piers and shed space are being extended to provide more laydown area and berthing options for breakbulk and bulk cargo. Among the targets are shipments of engines and steel for patrol vessels being built in the Irving Shipbuilding yard and over-dimensional pieces for mega-projects in the Atlantic region. With the recent addition of Sheet


Harbour, Nova Scotia, to Logistec’s comprehensive network of ports, Doiron feels Logistec is well positioned to service various offshore energy projects and import project cargo moves for the Atlantic Canadian marketplace. Regarding prospects for Trois-Rivières on the St Lawrence River, where project cargo is a growing business, Doiron sees 2013 shaping up as a busy year, comprising both local projects and Canada/USA vessel movements via the St Lawrence Seaway. Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the St Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, observed: “After a slow start this year on the project cargo/heavy lift front, there are indications of cargo demand for oil sands developments in Alberta resuming this summer and continuing to the end of the year.” Last year was described by Hodgson as “a very good year” in project cargo for the Seaway, and such Canadian Great Lakes ports as Thunder Bay and Hamilton, with Oshawa and Toronto capturing some of this


July/August 2013 47


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