McKeil Marine’s Evans Spirit Kicks Off Shipping Season at the Port of Hamilton

For Release:

March 25, 2022

HAMILTON, ON – McKeil Marine’s MV Evans Spirit arrived at the Port of Hamilton yesterday, officially kicking off the 2022 marine shipping season. Coming all the way from Garrucha, Spain, with 15,905 mt of natural gypsum, the Canadian bulk carrier and its crew docked at pier 12 where stevedore, Federal Marine Terminals (FMT), will unload the cargo from its shallow draft.

Captain Josh Penney was presented with the ceremonial top hat for being the first vessel into port by HOPA Ports Director, Safety & Security and Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber; alongside HOPA’s President & CEO, Ian Hamilton, and McKeil Marine CEO, Scott Bravener. After discharging, the MV Evans Spirit will move to pier 26 to load up on Ontario-grown wheat at G3 Canada’s Hamilton export terminal before departing for Trois-Rivières, where the cargo will be transloaded for overseas export.

Come what may in the year ahead, HOPA’s Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber, is ready for another busy season. “Recent events truly highlight the importance of our supply chain network, and the dedication of the crews, longshoremen, and transportation workers across the country that keep these goods moving.”

Vessels that call on Hamilton Port deliver key commodities the agri-food, steelmaking, construction, and manufacturing sectors. The gypsum delivered today, for example, will be used to make white cement for the construction of buildings, cast stone, pavers in driveways and walkways, and stucco.

McKeil is one of Canada’s leading marine service providers, and has grown from a tug-and-barge operation to a more expansive fleet delivering goods further along the Seaway, to the East Coast and all the way to the Canadian Arctic. This vessel is named after the company’s founder, Evans McKeil, who started the company with one hand-built wooden boat called the MicMac, which was used in the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1956.

McKeil Marine CEO, Scott Bravener, was thrilled to greet the ship and her crew. “This modern, versatile vessel is one of the workhorses of the McKeil fleet and we are honoured to be the first vessel of the new navigation season into our home port of Hamilton.” In addition to completing the long journey home across the Atlantic, the MV Evans McKeil completed a successful dry docking in Poland before leaving Europe.

In 2021, HOPA saw 11.2 million mt of cargo through Hamilton and Oshawa’s ports, up 9 per cent from the previous year. Hamilton Port recorded 10.8 million mt alone during the 2021 season, surpassing 2020’s total by almost one million metric tonnes of cargo. “By making the right infrastructure investments, we’re able to improve the fluidity of the supply chains we support, and expand Canada’s trade capacity,” said HOPA President & CEO, Ian Hamilton.

In 2022, HOPA Ports is planning for $30 million in construction projects across its network in Hamilton, Oshawa and Niagara. At the Port of Hamilton, one key area of focus will be creating a dedicated agri-food cluster at pier 10 to improve marine infrastructure and decrease vessel wait times, as well as add storage space and increase export capacity for grain and oilseed processing tenants nearby.


Media contact:

Emily Paivalainen
Communications Advisor
HOPA Ports
Tel: (905) 525-4330 EXT. 256

[email protected]

About HOPA Ports
As an integrated port network, the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA Ports) offers port and marine assets on the Great Lakes, with locations in Hamilton, Oshawa and Niagara. HOPA is developing multimodal spaces to support Ontario’s industries and facilitate trade. By investing in high-quality infrastructure and prioritizing sustainability, HOPA is building prosperous working waterfronts in Ontario communities. To learn more, visit:  

Renee Bulger, CPA, CGA

Vice President, Finance

Renee assumed the role of Vice President, Finance after having served as Director of Finance since 2023.

Renee joined the Hamilton Port Authority in 2006 as a General Accountant and was promoted to Controller in 2018. She was previously a member of the Board of Directors for the Hamilton Conservation Foundation from 2017 to 2020.

Renee received her Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University and is a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Larissa Fenn

Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Larissa Fenn is Vice President, Corporate Affairs at HOPA Ports, leading a team responsible for communications and government relations, sustainability reporting, corporate governance and corporate culture.

Previous positions included communications and public policy roles at the Canadian Bankers Association, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, and the Regional Municipality of Halton.

Larissa holds a B.A.(Hons) in Political Science from Queen’s University. She holds the APR designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society, and completed the Senior Public Sector Leaders program at the University of Western Ontario, Ivey School of Business. Larissa has served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Royal Botanical Gardens, and as a member of the Policy Council of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Fitzgerald

Vice President, Strategic Development

Bill assumed the role of Vice President, Strategic Development in 2024, after having served as HOPA’s Vice President, Operations since 2008.

Bill joined the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority in July 1995 as Project Engineer. He previously worked with the Regional Municipality of Ottawa’s Transportation Department, as well as for the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Waterloo.

Bill received a Bachelor of Applied Science, civil engineering / water resources, in 1995 from the University of Waterloo and registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario in 1997.

Jeremy Dunn

Vice President, Operations

Jeremy assumed the role of Vice President, Operations in 2024 after having served as HOPA’s Commercial Vice President since 2019. Prior to joining HOPA, Jeremy served in successive leadership roles at The Miller Group, one of Canada’s leading transportation construction and infrastructure maintenance companies. Jeremy has managed multiple business groups in the heavy construction, asphalt paving and aggregates sectors driving results through business restructuring, service improvement and strategic growth. In his most recent role, Jeremy served as General Manager of Miller Maintenance, responsible for managing and growing Miller’s highway maintenance business in Ontario.

Previous to The Miller Group, Jeremy held the position of Director of Operations for the Dunn Group of Companies.

Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) through Queen’s University. He also holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management.

Janet Knight

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer for the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority since 2008, Janet joined the HPA in 1998 as Accounting Supervisor and subsequently served as Controller.

Prior to joining the HPA, Janet held the position of Financial Analyst with St. Joseph’s Hospital, as well as various positions, including Marketing Communications/Research Lead with Zeneca Agro. Janet graduated from McMaster University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Commerce. She attained the professional designation of Certified Management Accountant in 1992.

Ian Hamilton

President & CEO

Ian Hamilton is President & CEO of HOPA Ports (Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority). He assumed this role in 2017, after serving as the Port Authority’s Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate since 2008. Ian has been instrumental in developing working waterfronts in Hamilton, Oshawa, and Niagara by attracting new business and private investment, and creating an integrated marine network across Southern Ontario.

Ian possesses more than 25 years of experience in international transportation and logistics in Europe and North America, and has held progressively senior positions in the liner shipping industry, including Transatlantic Trade Director (Europe) for CP Ships and Business Development Manager for Hapag-Lloyd. Ian is Chairperson of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, and holds positions on various other boards, including: the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the Hamilton Club, and Brigs Youth Sail Training.

Ian holds an MBA from Aston University (UK) and a BSc in business administration and economics from the College of Charleston, South Carolina.