Domestic cement carrier, NACC Quebec was the first ship to arrive, sailing all the way from the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec. The NovaAlgoma “Laker” pulled into dock 3, along the eastern slip, with a load of cement for McInnis.
Captain Orval Bouchard was presented with a ceremonial top hat and gift by the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority’s (HOPA) Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber.
Lockdowns in Canada began two weeks before the beginning of last year’s shipping season. Despite this challenge, the port produced its best season on record last year, with strong showings in fertilizer, grain, steel, and cement, according to HOPA.
“Transportation systems and supply chain became part of public consciousness and conversation last year. Canada’s networks and shipping partners rose to the challenge and kept goods moving,” states HOPA Ports President and CEO Ian Hamilton.
Hamilton says he is “optimistic” about the season ahead, noting HOPA’s integrated multimodal network is “ready to support a blue recovery across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”
“We’re here to help get Canadian products to market efficiently and sustainably,” he adds.
Marine shipping was deemed essential from the outset of the pandemic, as vessels that traverse the Great Lakes and international waters are crucial to delivering key commodities for sectors like construction, manufacturing, and agriculture, states HOPA.
For example, the cement that comes into Oshawa’s port supplies construction projects across Durham and the GTA.
“Despite a year of uncertainties driven by the pandemic, McInnis signed a very strong season in 2020, and all indicators are shaping up for another busy season in 2021,” states Oshawa’s McInnis Terminal Supervisor, Mark Lunn.
After leaving Oshawa, Orval and his crew will sail the NACC Quebec back up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Port-Daniel-Gascons to load up at the McInnis cement plant.
NACC’s General Manager, Salvatore Pugliese, says the pandemic has had a profound effect on all lives, and throughout these difficult times, people onboard the ships, like Orval, have “persisted and kept the supply chain going.”
Gruber says she is also looking forward to a strong season.
“We’ll be maintaining a lot of the same protocols that were developed last season. We just have to stay vigilant,” she says.
Safety precautions, which include monitoring crew health and checking in with the Public Agency of Canada upon entering Canadian waters, apply to all ships– domestic and international – calling Canadian ports, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
HOPA says it anticipates that as regional construction activity resumes in 2021, the Port of Oshawa will “make an important contribution to rebuilding our economy by efficiently delivering the materials needed for infrastructure, residential and civil construction projects.”