Photo: CNW Group/The CSL Group Inc.

CSL, Windsor Salt join forces to build eco-friendly self-unloader

Canadian shipping company Canada Steam Ship Lines (CSL) and compatriot salt manufacturer K+S Windsor Salt Ltd. (Windsor Salt) have entered into a strategic partnership to build a new, eco-friendly self-unloading ship.

The 26,000 dwt newbuild is intended for operation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region.

The keel laying ceremony for the self-unloader was held at Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China, on 29 January 2021. The vessel is expected to commence operations in the Magdalen Islands at the start of the 2022 navigation season.

The keel-laying ceremony for the new Windsor Salt-CSL new ship. Image by CNW Group/The CSL Group Inc.

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

As explained, 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 the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland.

According to CSL and Windsor Salt, the new vessel will bring a long-term, safe, sustainable and reliable shipping solution to the region that relies on the Mines Seleine salt mine.  

“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,” Tom Labash, Marine Distribution Manager for Windsor Salt, commented.

More sustainable marine transportation

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 together to bring several innovations to enhance sustainability and reduce the environmental footprint of the new ship.

These include diesel-electric tier 3 engines and an advanced hull design that will contribute to cutting COemissions and improve energy efficiency; a ballast water treatment system (BWTS) that is expected to reduce the transfer of invasive species; and a 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 approximately 25% less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 80% fewer harmful air pollutants.

Safer and more efficient shipping

The new ship also features several 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.

What is more, the vessel features an advanced propulsion system to enhance maneuverability 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,” Louis Martel, President and CEO, The CSL Group, said.

“CSL is very excited about leading the design and construction of this pioneering ship … and introducing a new level of safety and environmental sustainability in Canadian waters. We would also like to thank the Ministère des Transports du Québec for its financial contribution to the newbuild project… Thanks to this generous support, CSL is able to acquire and install equipment to reduce the new vessel’s greenhouse gas emissions.”