On March 24, the Port of Hamilton welcomed bulk carrier, Baie St. Paul, officially kicking off the 2021 marine shipping season. Coming all the way from Dartmouth N.S., this self-unloading ‘Laker’ docked along pier 26 with a load of gypsum for stevedore QSL to unload.

Captain Serge Chevrier was presented with a ceremonial top hat and gift by the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority’s Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber and HOPA Ports President & CEO, Ian Hamilton, at the base of the gangway.

The Baie St. Paul is a “Nova Scotia-class” vessel, meaning it can cross the Anticosti line in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. The ship has a modern engine and hull design to increase fuel efficiency and decrease air emissions. Its double hulls prevent spills in the event of an accident and state-of-the-art cargo handling systems to minimize dust and cargo residue. “The new technologies built into the design of Baie St. Paul and her sister ships helped launch a transformation in Great Lakes shipping that is making it safer for our crews to navigate and healthier for the environments and communities in which we operate,” said Louis Martel, President and CEO, The CSL Group.

After leaving Hamilton, the Baie St. Paul headed to Thunder Bay to pick up grain. In 2020, HOPA’s cargo levels dipped 30 per cent in the early months, but a good Ontario harvest and strong showings in grain and other commodities made up the balance by the fall. The port saw a final tonnage total of close to 10 million MT by season close, almost exactly on-par with 2019’s results.