A massive environmentally advanced cargo ship that will take bulk shipments of iron ore and grain through the Great Lakes and serve businesses like ArcelorMittal Dofasco was christened Thursday in Hamilton Harbour.

The Algoma Harvester is being touted as a more energy efficient and more environmentally clean bulk cargo vessel than Algoma Central Corporation’s current fleet.

“It‘s a win-win when one of our partners is able to achieve the kinds of improvements that Algoma has with this new fleet, effectively reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain, from raw material inputs to shipping of finished products,” said ArcelorMittal Dofasco CEO Jim Baske in a statement.

 

Algoma Harvester

A bottle of champagne is broken against the bow of the ship. (Thies Bognor/Chamber of Marine Commerce)

The ship’s advanced design is being hailed as having a 45 per cent improvement in energy efficiency over Algoma’s current fleet. 

Complete with champagne smashing and giant banner, Thursday's ceremony included a prayer from Father David Mulholland of the Mission to Seafarers to the Canadian crew of the ship.

The Harvester is the second ship in Algoma’s new Equinox Class. Algoma Equinox was unveiled in November as part of the company’s 32-vessel Canadian flagged Great Lakes fleet. Algoma is putting up $300 million to make six Equinox Class ships, two of which are currently under construction.

“The Equinox Class bulkers have been designed to optimize performance in the movement of iron ore for companies like ArcelorMittal Dofasco and for the movement of grain products. We expect the ship to move 1 million tonnes per year of these commodities,” said Algoma CEO Greg Wight.

The Harvester departed China on May 18 and picked up its first load of cargo at Port Cartier, Que., on July 11 after its voyage across the Pacific. The first cargo of iron ore, which has set a new record size, was delivered to ArcelorMittal Dofasco immediately following the ceremony.

The Harvester will serve primarily agricultural and iron and steel industry customers, making regular voyages from ports on Lake Superior such as Thunder Bay, Ont., and Superior/Duluth in the U.S. to Port Cartier, Quebec City, and Baie Comeau in the St. Lawrence.

It will also visit ports like Contrecoeur, Hamilton, Toledo, Chicago and Milwaukee during the course of a navigation season. 

The ship will depart Hamilton for Thunder Bay on Friday. It is expected to make approximately 10 grain and iron ore trips in 2014.