Thursday, February 18, 2021

New Self-Unloading Vessel Begins Construction After Years of Planning

Better Environmental Equipment to Protect Sensitive Area
Shipping News Feature

CANADA – To most people salt means only one thing, its use as a culinary essential, however to the icy provinces of the far north its use is paramount in keeping the roadways safe during the winter season across Eastern Canada.

K+S Windsor Salt supplies every type of its product, even including the fashionable Himalayan pink salt, but has contracts to deliver de-icing salt from its Mines Seleine salt mine in the Magdalen Islands to stockpiles in Montreal, Quebec City, and other destinations in the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland.

To ensure continuity of supplies while tightening environmental standards in the routes of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region, Windsor Salt has been collaborating for years with Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) to plan a new, 26,000 tonne self-unloading ship to carry the trade forward, and in August 2020 the pair finally saw construction plans forwarded on the bespoke vessel.

Given the shipping route is located in the sensitive marine environment of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Windsor Salt and CSL worked together to bring several innovations to enhance sustainability and reduce the environment footprint of the new ship.

These included diesel-electric tier 3 engines and a unique hull design that will contribute to cutting CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency, a ballast water treatment system to reduce the chances of the transfer of invasive species plus quieter machinery to reduce vessel noise to protect the area’s North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals. Louis Martel, President and CEO, The CSL Group, commented:

“We are honoured to be joining forces with our long-time customer Windsor Salt, a visionary partner willing to make concrete commitments to integrate sustainable and safety-first choices into their supply chain. CSL is very excited about leading the design and construction of this pioneering ship for our customer and introducing a new level of safety and environmental sustainability in Canadian waters.

”We would also like to thank the Ministère des Transports du Québec for its financial contribution to the new build project, as part of the Ministry’s program to improve the efficiency of marine, air and rail transportation. Thanks to this generous support, CSL is able to acquire and install equipment to reduce the new vessel’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Compared to the previous vessel servicing the same salt routes, the new ship is expected to emit approximately 25% less GHG emissions and 80% fewer harmful air pollutants. The vessel also features several innovations to enhance efficiency and safety including a fixed, single point of loading system with a single hopper into which the salt is loaded, combined with a cargo handling system that eliminates the need for the vessel to shift during loading, which will improve the efficiency of cargo operations and the safety of ship and shore personnel.

The ship also needed a modern hull design and state-of-the-art propulsion system to enhance the manoeuvrability of the vessel and increase the safety of navigation in the shallow Magdalen Island channel.

The keel laying ceremony for the newbuild was held at Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China, on January 29, 2021. The vessel is expected to commence operations in the Magdalen Islands at the start of the 2022 navigation season.

Photo: The MV Balto a Trillium Class Panamax self-unloading vessel which CSL acquired in 2015 from Klaveness Selfunloaders AS.