Canadian Manufacturing

Algoma to invest $400M to renew fleet

Shipper to acquire partnership rights of Upper Lakes Group Inc. and its shipping vessels

ST. CATHARINES—Algoma Central Corp. expects to invest about $400‑million in a fleet renewal program, starting with the purchase five new Equinox Class vessels.

The Equinox Class was developed in St. Catharines, Ont. by a team of Algoma’s designers in partnership with engineers from around the world.

The new ships have newer engine technology that will reduce fuel consumption and emit 60 per cent less emissions than older steamships still working on the Great Lakes.

The first of the new ships is expected to be in service by 2013.

“The new Equinox Class vessels will provide much-needed improvements in operating efficiency and environmental performance,” said Greg Wright, Algoma’s president and CEO.

The five new Algoma ships will be joined by two new Equinox Class freighters purchased by the Canadian Wheat Board in an agreement with Algoma, which will operate and manage the ships on the Wheat Board’s behalf.

Algoma has also entered an agreement to acquire the partnership interest of Upper Lakes Group Inc. in Seaway Marine Transport (SMT), the vessels and assets owned by Upper Lakes and used by SMT.

The $85-million deal, expected to close by the end of the March, includes:

  • the acquisition of 11 bulk freighters wholly-owned by Upper Lakes;
  • Upper Lakes interest in five additional bulk freighters owned jointly with Algoma (including a new self-unloader currently under construction);
  • a new Equinox Class vessel ordered by Upper Lakes.

Algoma Central Corp. owns and operates Canada’s largest fleet of vessels on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway. The company also owns a ship repair and steel fabricating facility.

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