Algoma to build 5 Great Lakes ships
Algoma Central Corp. will spend about $400 million to build five Equinox-class vessels for plying the Great Lakes.
The new vessel type, which was developed by Algoma's designers in St. Catharines, Ontario, will be able to carry significantly more cargo and move faster than conventional vessels, the company said.
The new ships will emit 60 percent less emissions than the oldest steamships still transporting grain on the Great Lakes and about 40 percent lower emissions than existing motor vessels. In addition, the ships are designed to accommodate engine-exhaust gas scrubbers to further reduce emissions and accommodate ballast-water treatments.
The first of the new ships is expected to be in service on the Great Lakes by 2013.
'The new Equinox-class vessels will provide much-needed improvements in operating efficiency and environmental performance,' said Algoma President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wight on Tuesday at the Top Hat ceremony marking the 182nd opening of the Welland Canal.
'This fleet renewal will allow us to continue our leadership position in domestic dry bulk transportation and maintain Canadian jobs in this essential sector,' he said.
The five new Algoma ships will be joined on the Great Lakes by two new Equinox-class freighters purchased by the Canadian Wheat Board in an agreement with Algoma, which will operate and manage the ships on the wheat board's behalf.
'Although a major shipper of Canadian wheat on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway, the Canadian Wheat Board has never owned ships,' Wight said. 'This new investment in marine transportation combined with a long-term contract with Algoma to operate and manage the vessels, is a very concrete example of the Canadian Wheat Board's commitment to Great Lakes shipping.'
Algoma also recently entered an agreement to acquire the partnership interest of Upper Lakes Group Inc. in Seaway Marine Transport (SMT) along with the vessels and assets owned by Upper Lakes and used by SMT. The $85-million deal, expected to close by the end of the month, includes:
' The acquisition of 11 bulk freighters owned by Upper Lakes.
' Upper Lakes interest in 5 additional bulk freighters owned jointly with Algoma (including a new self-unloader under construction).
' A new Equinox-class vessel ordered by Upper Lakes.
Algoma, with assets of CAD $741 million ($757 million) and 2010 revenue of CAD $536 million ($547 million), is Canada's largest Canadian-flag ship owner and is one of Niagara's leading publicly traded companies. The company also has interests in ocean dry bulk and product tanker vessels operating in international markets.