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New ships on the Seaway


Fednav invests in “green” Great Lakes vessels

They may be painted with the company’s signature red colors, but these new ships are “green” at heart. Fednav Limited recently ordered 22 new ships, including nine ocean vessels specifically designed for entering the Great Lakes. At a total cost of more than a half billion dollars, the new ships feature next generation green technologies that reduce fuel consumption and air emissions.

Headquartered in Montreal, Fednav is the largest international shipper on the Great Lakes. The company operates about half the ocean vessels transiting the lakes as well as subsidiary terminal operations at 10 ports in North America, including the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

Fednav is not the only company building ships. All together, Fednav, Algoma Central Corp., Canada Steamship Lines and Polsteam have ordered 31 new vessels that will be sailing into the Great Lakes within the next four years. These investments not only demonstrate a strong commitment to meeting future environmental standards, but also signal an extremely positive outlook for the future of Great Lakes shipping.

“With this investment, Fednav further demonstrates its confidence in the continued growth of its business – we are listening closely to our customers,” said Paul Pathy, Fednav president and co-CEO.

Fednav’s new bulk vessels will carry cargo such as grain, steel, iron ore and sugar through the St. Lawrence Seaway between Great Lakes ports and ports around the world.

The company also has the largest fleet of ice-class vessels in the world, with the capability of navigating demanding winter conditions along the St. Lawrence Seaway, in the Baltic Sea and even in the Arctic. The new vessels are being built by Ouhua Shipbuilding in China as well as Sumitomo Corp. and Oshima Shipbuilding in Japan, and will be delivered by 2016.

“These are the third generation of our ships from the Oshima shipyard,” said Pathy. “We ordered the first generation 10 years ago. Those ships were very efficient for the time, but with advanced design elements and more efficient engines, these new ships will consume 20 percent less fuel and produce 20 percent less emissions than their predecessors. We are very excited about the environmental improvements this upgrade brings to our fleet.”

According to Pathy, many of the new efficiencies stem from subtle changes to the ship design, including the hull and propeller system.

“The environment is one of our top priorities when we consider the design of a new vessel for the Great Lakes,” Pathy said. “It is very important to us and also to our customers that our vessels not only meet but exceed environmental regulations.”

The first new vessel, the Federal Sable, made its maiden voyage onto the St. Lawrence River in March carrying 35,000 tons of the mineral ilmenite from Madagascar to Quebec. While in Quebec, the vessel loaded 28,000 tons of wheat at the Port of Trois Rivières for transport to Tema, Ghana. The first new vessel to the enter Great Lakes was the Federal Satsuki, which sailed to Hamilton, Ontario, in October.

Fednav’s new ships are scheduled to be completed over the next four years and include four basic categories of ice-class bulk vessels varying in ‘deadweight’ (carrying capacity) – nine 35,000-ton ships, eight 37,000-ton ships, four 55,000-ton ships and one 25,000-ton polar ice vessel.

“Fednav is a key partner for us,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. “The company’s investment in these Seaway ships reflects our shared belief in the economic and environmental advantages of moving cargo on the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. Seaway shipments are showing improvement over last year, and I expect as the economy continues to recover, we will see even more increase. With these new vessels, Fednav is well positioned for future growth.”

Did you know?


Deadweight tonnage (DWT) is a measure of how much weight a ship is carrying or can safely carry, including the cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers and crew.

“Seaway Sized”

Ocean vessels entering the Great Lakes are constructed to fit through the canal locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Seaway-sized vessels have maximum dimensions of approximately 740-feet long and 78-feet wide, with a draft of 26 feet and a height of 116 feet above waterline. The larger lake freighters (“lakers”) operating on the Great Lakes are more than 1,000-feet long and cannot pass through the locks to the Atlantic Ocean. Seaway-sized vessels are often called “salties” because they can pass through the locks to the ocean salt water.

Great Lakes to see 31 new ships

Four carriers will be sailing 31 new ships into the St. Lawrence Seaway in the near future. Here are carriers with new vessels in the works:

• Fednav Limited has invested more than a half billion dollars building 22 ice-class bulk carriers by 2016, including nine ocean vessels specifically designed for entering the Great Lakes. Several ships in this new fleet have been designed to consume 20 percent less fuel and produce 20 percent less emissions than their predecessors. Information:

• Algoma Central Corp. ordered eight new self-unloading vessels designed for the Great Lakes as part of their new Equinox Class, which is expected to join the fleet by 2014. Six of the ships belong to Algoma, with the remaining two owned by the Canadian Wheat Board and managed by Algoma. Algoma also invested $12 million in freshwater exhaust gas scrubbers for its vessels which will remove 97 percent of sulfur oxide emissions. Information:

• Canada Steamship Lines expects six new Trillium Class ships designed for Great Lakes use set to join its fleet by 2013. The new self-unloading vessels and bulk carriers range from 35,500 to 36,100 deadweight tons and were part of an order that also included three new Panamax vessels. Information:

• Polsteam will have eight new dry bulk vessels hit the Great Lakes by the end of the 2013 shipping season. The 16,000-deadweight-ton ships were built by Sanfu Ship Engineering in Taizhou, China, and the first of this series, the Regalica, made its maiden voyage in January. Overall, Polsteam is building a total of 38 new bulk carriers by 2015. Information:


Source: Portside Magazine Fall 2012