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McKeil Marine’s MV Evans Spirit first vessel at Port of Hamilton

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Dry Bulk,

McKeil Marine’s MV Evans Spirit arrived at the Port of Hamilton on 24 March 2022, officially kicking off the 2022 marine shipping season. Coming all the way from Garrucha, Spain, with 15 905 t 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 and 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.

“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,” said HOPA’s Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber.

Vessels that call on Hamilton Port deliver key commodities the agri-food, steelmaking, construction, and manufacturing sectors. The gypsum delivered, 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, added: “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 t of cargo through Hamilton and Oshawa’s ports, up 9% from the previous year. Hamilton Port recorded 10.8 million t alone during the 2021 season, surpassing 2020’s total by almost 1 million t 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,” explained Hamilton.

In 2022, HOPA Ports is planning for CAN$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.

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