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  • Unconventional Ag

First of CWB Grain Freighters Steam Into Seaway

The CWB Marquis, the first of two Great Lakes grain freighters procured by Canada’s CWB for $65 million, has opened this season of the St. Lawrence Seaway at St. Lambert Lock in the Port of Montreal. In its maiden voyage, the 226 meter by 24 meter ship will haul ore to Hamilton before sailing through the Great Lakes to load grain at Thunder Bay ten days later.

The purchase of the CWB Marquis and its sister ship, the CWB Strongfield was announced in 2011 prior to federal legislation being passed eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk monopoly of marketing Prairie grains.

The two ships, built by the Nontong Mingde Heavy Industries Stock Co. shipyard in China, belong to the Equinox class of vessels – a new class of vessels that can haul higher volumes quicker, while consuming less fuel. The vessels also include exhaust scrubbing technology that eliminates 97% of the Sulphur-oxide emission emitted by the vessel’s engines.

Currently the CWB is in the process of targeting strategic investments as it works through divesting from the Canadian government. Over the past couple of years it has built various high throughput elevators, and has become the major owner of the Great Sandhills Railway in Saskatchewan. CWB chief executive, Ian White tells the Winnipeg Free Press that more news concerning strategic investments will be ‘coming soon’.

The acquisition and launch of the two Equinox vessels will not only add to the CWB’s growing portfolio of grain handling and transportation assets, but will increase its presence and visibility along the entire supply chain.

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