March 24, 2021
Oshawa, ON – Domestic cement carrier, NACC Quebec, was the first ship to arrive at the Port of Oshawa, officially kicking off the 2021 marine shipping season. Sailing all the way from the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, the NovaAlgoma “Laker” pulled into dock 3, along the eastern slip, with a load cement for McInnis.
Captain Orval Bouchard was presented with a ceremonial top hat and gift by the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority’s Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber dockside.
The first ship of the season for the second year in a row, NACC Quebec’s arrival also commences year two of operating during the pandemic at Oshawa’s port. Lockdowns in Canada began just two weeks before the beginning of last year’s shipping season. Despite this challenge, the small but mighty port produced its best season on record last year, with strong showings in fertilizer, grain, steel and cement.
“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,” said Ian Hamilton, President & CEO of HOPA Ports. “We are optimistic about the season ahead and 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.”
Marine shipping was deemed essential from the outset of the pandemic, as vessels that transit the Great Lakes and international waters are crucial to delivering key commodities for sectors like construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. The cement that comes into Oshawa’s port, for example, feeds 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” said Oshawa’s McInnis Terminal Supervisor, Mark Lunn.
After leaving Oshawa, Captain 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. “The pandemic has had a profound effect on all of our lives, and throughout these difficult times, our people onboard the ships, like Captain Orval Bouchard, have persisted and kept the supply chain going” said NACC’s general manager, Salvatore Pugliese. The fluidity of ports across the country helped maintain Canada’s resilience throughout the crisis and will bolster its recovery on the other side.
Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber, 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.” Safety precautions, which include monitoring crew health and checking in with the Public Agency of Canada upon entering Canadian waters, apply to all (domestic and international) ships calling Canadian ports, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Port of Oshawa is a strategic gateway to the Greater Toronto regional market. HOPA 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.
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.