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Cargo ship operator: Oshawa port “held back” by regulation

Oshawa port

The MV Olza, seen here while in port in Oshawa, had its stay extended due to what freight management worker Firat Adriansen calls unneeded regulations that are holding back the development of the Oshawa Port.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

After being stuck in Oshawa Port for three days, the operator of a Polish cargo ship says the port has lots of potential, but it’s being held up by unneeded rules.

This underdevelopment of the Oshawa Port, he says, is typical of many in the Great Lakes Region.

“I always wondered why the Great Lakes (area) had not developed much when the rest of the world has developed tenfold,” Firat Adriansen, who works for New York-based freight manager Teegrus Management, tells The Oshawa Express. “The whole seaway system, lots of ports have archaic rules, bureaucracy and a lack of services that hamper development.”

When The Express spoke with Adriansen on May 12, the ship had originally been scheduled to leave port that day, but what the port authority called unsuitable weather meant the ship would have to stay for the night. On top of that, Adriansen said they were waiting for an American pilot to take the ship out of the harbour, but none are stationed in Oshawa or even Toronto.

That weather, however, would not have been a challenge for the MV Olza to navigate, Adriansen said.

“If winds are above 20 miles per hour, (the pilot) won’t sail the ship,” Adriansen said, adding the Olza can handle waves of up to 40 feet.

The extra wait – the Olza did not leave Oshawa until late in the morning of May 13 – cost approximately $30,000, he said.

Another thing that Adriansen says is holding the Oshawa Port back is that ships are not allowed to come in after dark.

“There’s no reason that we need to hold fear that we can’t anchor at night,” he said, adding that if a ship comes in after the sun has set, it will be turned around to try again in the morning.

A simple fix for this, he says, is to put lights on top of the buoys at the harbour.

It is things like this that will make shipping carriers think twice about using Oshawa as a port of call, despite the potential it has, Adriansen says.

“Next time (a ship) comes to Oshawa, you have to think of the extra costs,” he says. “This place is a gold mine. Lots can be done. People don’t realize how the vibrancy of a port helps a city.”

Donna Taylor, the CEO of the Oshawa Port Authority and harbourmaster, did not return The Oshawa Express’ request for comment before press time.