First Ship kicks off Marine Shipping Season at Port of Oshawa

April 12, 2020

Oshawa, ON – Domestic cement carrier, NACC Quebec, became the first ship to arrive at the Port of Oshawa today, officially kicking off its 2020 marine shipping season. Sailing all the way from Port-Daniel–Gascon, along the southern shore of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, the NovaAlgoma laker pulled into dock 3, along the eastern slip, with a load cement for McInnis which was unloaded by local stevedore QSL.

Captain Harold Ouellon was presented with a ceremonial top hat and gift by the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority’s Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber, on the pier beside the ship’s stern. Due to the threat of COVID-19, this is a very different and distanced take on the traditional top hat ceremony. Normally, the Harbour Master would come aboard the first vessel to congratulate the captain and crew.

Captain Harold has been sailing for 35 years, but he is adapting to new processes right now, just like everyone else who works on the water. “Like most people working in essential services, we are at work to keep the goods moving and keep the Canadian economy flowing, but certain measures are being taken on board which did not ever exist before.” After leaving Oshawa this afternoon, he and his crew will sail the NACC Quebec back up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Port Daniel-Gascon to load up at the McInnis cement plant.

This is the port authority’s first top hat ceremony in Oshawa since the amalgamation of Oshawa and Hamilton’s ports last June. HOPA Ports President & CEO, Ian Hamilton was also on hand to welcome the ship and celebrate Oshawa’s season start. Despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Hamilton is confident heading into the season, as maintaining the integrity of supply chains is now more important than ever. “We are doing things differently to prevent the spread COVID-19, but we will ensure Canadian goods continue to move throughout the Great Lakes, and into international markets. Our planned new investments at the Port of Oshawa will help stimulate an economic restart once the crisis subsides.”

Designated as an essential service by federal and provincial governments, Canadian ports and the businesses that underpin the movement of goods are operational in spite of COVID-19.

Canada’s ports are crucial to delivering key commodities to various industrial sectors, such as agriculture and construction. The cement that comes into Oshawa’s port, for example, feeds construction projects across Durham and the GTA. The fluidity of ports across the country will help maintain Canada’s economic resilience throughout the crisis and bolster its recovery on the other side.

Though the 2020 marine shipping season is now underway in Oshawa and Hamilton, it is not quite business as usual. Additional safety precautions have been set by Transport Canada for all (domestic and international) ships calling Canadian ports, in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. Some of these measures include reporting the health of personnel aboard a vessel to the Public Health Agency of Canada 96 hours prior to its arrival in port and throughout its journey, as well as isolating anyone who is symptomatic or has been in contact with a symptomatic individual for 14 days.


Media contact:
Emily Paivalainen
Communications & Community Relations Coordinator
HOPA Ports
Tel: (905) 525-4330 EXT. 256

[email protected]

About HOPA Ports
As a growing integrated port network, the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority offers innovative port and marine assets on the Great Lakes. We’re developing multimodal spaces to support Ontario’s industries and facilitate trade. By investing in high-quality infrastructure and prioritizing sustainability, we’re building prosperous working waterfronts in Ontario communities.