Algoma charts a new environmental course

St. Catharines-based shipping company pushes ahead with releaseof its first-ever environmental report

Algoma has initiated several environmental initiatives to reduce energy use and waste and conserve resources. While efforts and policies like a waste-heat recovery program and directives to use environmentally-friendly practices in day-to-day operations (using re-usable coffee cups and water bottles, for example) are important, the biggest piece is the ongoing renewal of the Algoma Great Lakes fleet.

Renewing its Great Lakes shipping fleet will ensure Algoma Central Corporation (TSX:ALC) meets its ambitious sustainability goals and plays a significant role in helping Canada maintain the health of its air and waterways, says the first-ever environmental report of the St. Catharines, Ont.-based company, released Friday at its Annual General Meeting.

“We take our environmental responsibilities seriously at Algoma,” says Algoma President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wight. “As we renew our fleet, we are replacing older ships with new ones that will contribute greatly to reduced air and water emissions, will have better fuel efficiency producing about 40 percent lower emissions than existing motor vessels. The new ships are also designed to accommodate engine-exhaust gas scrubbers to further reduce emissions and accommodate ballast-water treatment solutions.”

Algoma has ordered five new Equinox-class vessels that will be brought into service on the Great Lakes between 2013 and 2014, and has entered a historic agreement with the Canadian Wheat Board to operate two more new Equinox-class vessels being built by the CWB.

These new ships will make a mode of transport that is already environmentally friendly even more so:

  • A ship can carry one tonne of cargo 312 kilometres on a litre of fuel, whereas at train will carry it 181 kilometres and a truck only 75 kilometres;
  • Ships emit 10 grams of greenhouse gases per tonne of cargo transported one kilometre; a train emits 17 and a truck 33;
  • Ships have fewer spills, less noise and congestion than trains and trucks.

While Algoma’s fleet renewal was a big part of its activities in 2010, the year was also highlighted by the Corporation completing an $85-million acquisition of Upper Lakes Group Inc.’s interests in Great Lakes – St. Lawrence dry-bulk shipping.

“The growth of the company through these acquisitions and through our new relationship with the CWB will help to position Algoma for the future,” Wight says. “Fleet renewal has become a critical issue for Canada’s marine transportation industry at a time when the demand for improved environmental efficiency has never been greater.”

Algoma finished 2010 with assets of $741 million and revenues of $536 million. With the acquisition of ULS, the Corporation now employs more than 2,000 people worldwide and controls a fleet of 21 self-unloading and 12 gearless bulk carriers and seven product tankers. The Corporation also owns a diversified ship repair and fabricating facility and, through Algoma Central Properties, owns and manages commercial real estate in St. Catharines, Sault Ste. Marie and Waterloo, Ontario.

 

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