Windsor Salt, Canada Steamship Lines partner on self-unloading ship

MONTREAL — K+S Windsor Salt Ltd. and Canada Steamship Lines are partnering to build a new self-unloading ship with a deadweight of 26,000 metric tons that the companies say will provide safe, sustainable and efficient shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region.

Windsor Salt and CSL began construction of the custom-made vessel in August 2020 after several years of planning, which included an environmental impact analysis, ship and shore personnel safety reviews, an efficiency evaluation of cargo operations and navigational optimization.

The vessel was created to service Windsor Salt’s need to deliver deicing salt from its Mines Seleine salt mine on the Magdalen Islands to stockpiles in Montreal, Quebec City, and other destinations within Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Through our partnership with CSL, we wanted to prove not only that we could – but we should strive for better – because it’s important to challenge the status quo, especially when we have the opportunity to reduce our environmental impact and improve safety while delivering the deicing salt Canadians know and trust,” said Tom Labash, marine distribution manager for Windsor Salt.

Given the shipping route is located in the sensitive marine environment of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Windsor Salt and CSL worked to bring innovations to enhance sustainability and reduce the environmental footprint of the new ship, including:

  • Diesel-electric tier 3 engines and a unique hull design that will contribute to cutting CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency;
  • A ballast water treatment system that is expected to reduce the transfer of invasive species; and
  • Quieter machinery that will reduce vessel noise to protect the area’s North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals.

Compared to the previous vessel servicing the same salt routes, the new ship is expected to emit about 25 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions and 80 per cent fewer harmful air pollutants.

The new ship also features innovations to enhance efficiency and safety including:

  • A fixed, single point of loading system with a single hopper into which the salt is loaded, combined with a cargo handling system that eliminates the need for the vessel to shift during loading, which will improve the efficiency of cargo operations and the safety of ship and shore personnel.
  • A modern hull design and state-of-the-art propulsion system to enhance the maneuverability of the vessel and increase the safety of navigation in the shallow Magdalen Island channel.

“We are honoured to be joining forces with our long-time customer Windsor Salt – a visionary partner willing to make concrete commitments to integrate sustainable and safety-first choices into their supply chain,” said Louis Martel, president and CEO, The CSL Group. “CSL is very excited about leading the design and construction of this pioneering ship for our customer and introducing a new level of safety and environmental sustainability in Canadian waters.”

The vessel is expected to commence operations in the Magdalen Islands at the start of the 2022 navigation season.