McKeil Marine’s MV Evans Spirit arrived at the Port of Hamilton on March 24, 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 moved to pier 26 to load up on Ontario-grown wheat at G3 Canada’s Hamilton export terminal before departing for Trois-Rivières.

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.