Skip to Content

Category Archives: Feature on Homepage

Windsor Port Authority Honoured at the AAPA Conference in Long Beach, California

Windsor Port Authority was recently honoured at the Awards Luncheon of the Annual Conference of the Association of American Port Authorities (AAPA) held in Long Beach, California. AAPA is an alliance representing more than 130 Port Authorities in Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. The Award of Merit was granted to Windsor Port Authority within the Communications Category for its community initiative “Windsor Port Authority Outreach Campaign with Olde Sandwich Towne”. Accepting the award on behalf of the Windsor Port Authority was George Sandala, Chair of the Board of Directors, who noted “this is a significant achievement for Windsor, considering we were judged alongside major ports such as New York, Vancouver and Long Beach. This award reflects the outstanding work by the Windsor Port Authority staff, who have consistently demonstrated the commitment to various initiatives for community enhancement within Olde Sandwich Towne. It’s nice to see their hard work and dedication so suitably rewarded.”

The Windsor Port Authority Outreach Campaign with Olde Sandwich Towne consisted of a broad-based consultation program to determine the needs and objectives of various community organizations and the public in general within the Sandwich Towne Community. The goal of these discussions was to identify very specific environmental, community and sponsorship activities which would be appropriate for the Windsor Port Authority given its mandate and financial resources. The activities undertaken to date include the following: creating over 1200 linear feet of new fish habitat in conjunction with 2 of its major tenants (Sterling Fuels Limited and LafargeHolcim); developing a derelict Port Authority dock into public space, including green space and fishing pier and significant fish habitat (Queen’s Dock); purchasing a large vacant lot adjacent to the Port Authority’s offices on Sandwich Street to be developed as an “outdoor museum” with green space, walking paths and story boards detailing the history of Olde Sandwich Towne and the Port; making strategic donations to the community including: Brock/Tecumseh Statue, Hiram Walker Statue, Sandwich Towne Festival, Santa Claus Parade, St. John’s Church Foodbank and the Sandwich Teen Action Group and working with local youth groups on numerous clean-up projects on vacant properties.

Media Contact :

David Cree, President & CEO

519-258-5741

READ MORE

Windsor, Great Lakes ports enjoying One of Best Shipping Years ever in 2017

Bad winters usually translate into good business for the Port of Windsor, and a big spike in 2017 sales of its No. 1 export — salt — is helping make this year one of its best ever.

“We’re having a terrific year so far — shipping is up about 20 per cent till the end of September,” said David Cree, president and CEO of the Windsor Port Authority.

Windsorites enjoyed a relatively mild 2016-17 winter, but many of the other K+S Windsor Salt Ltd. clients endured a harsher-than-usual season, resulting in higher-than-normal road salt demand. Cree said Port of Windsor salt exports as of Sept. 30 were up more than 30 per cent over the same period in 2016.

Gravel and other construction aggregates, the local port’s No. 2 shipped product, was up more than eight per cent; grain, in third spot, was up 28 per cent and “general cargo” — primarily steel — shot up 27 per cent, indicating a healthy economy with lots of construction.

This year’s shipping volumes will probably not match those of the 2015 record year, but Cree said the last five years have been “very good” and 2017 so far is ahead of projections.

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments as a whole are up 14 per cent over 2016 volumes as of the end of September, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation reported Tuesday. The total of 24.3 million metric tons in cargo shipped from March 20 to Sept. 30 represents a three million tonne jump from the same period in 2016.

Tuesday was Marine Day on the Hill, when the Chamber of Marine Commerce and shipping executives and their customers meet with Canadian federal government representatives. Despite the high cargo volumes carried by ships in the Great Lakes, Cree said there is still “lots of room to grow … without any additional infrastructure requirements.”

The Port of Windsor’s 13 terminals are, on average, under 60 per cent capacity, he said.

With “tremendous potential to grow,” Chamber of Marine Commerce president Bruce Burrows told officials that government needed to recognize “marine shipping’s significant environmental and economic benefits in its approach to transportation planning and policy-making.”

From the beginning of the 2017 shipping season to the end of September, about 70 freighters picked up 1.5 million tonnes of salt in Windsor, said Cree. During that period, 494 cargo ships stopped in the Port of Windsor (compared to 466 in 2016), loading or unloading about 3.8 million tonnes of cargo.

Weather, market demand and maintenance schedules usually mean Windsor sees its last freighter stops of the year by about mid-December, said Cree.

Click here for complete Windsor Star article.

READ MORE

Historic icebreaker passing through Windsor en route to Thunder Bay

Chris Thompson, Windsor Star
More from Chris Thompson, Windsor Star

Published on: June 21, 2017 | Last Updated: June 21, 2017 9:44 PM EDT

Alexander Henry IceBreaker

The historic icebreaker Alexander Henry will be passing by Windsor and Amherstburg on Thursday, June 22, 2017. Ian MacAlpine / SunMedia

A historic retired Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker will be passing through Amherstburg and Windsor on Thursday en route to Thunder Bay, the place it was built and where it will become a tourist attraction.

The Alexander Henry was built by the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company in what is now part of Thunder Bay and launched in July 1959.

“It has come through the Welland Canal, all eight locks,” said Windsor native Shelley Simon of the Lakehead Transportation Museum Society.

“It’s really historic, it will be in Amherstburg at 3 p.m. (Thursday) and is supposed to be at the Windsor waterfront between 6 and 7 p.m. (Thursday).

The Alexander Henry was originally classified a Canadian Marine Ship (CMS) but with the creation of the Canadian Coast Guard in 1962 it became a Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) and remained in service, based on Lake Superior, until 1984.

While operational, the Alexander Henry was used in the 1970s to test experimental methods of icebreaking — using hover platforms at the front of the ship. But that proved to be too noisy and costly.

In 1986, the ship became a floating museum at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston, also serving as a bed and breakfast in the summer months.

The ship was put in dry dock in 2010 to undergo inspection and last year the museum moved to a new location that could not accommodate the ship.

The ship’s future has been uncertain of late, with some in Kingston wanting to sink it in Lake Ontario to become a diving reef.

The Thunder Bay group bought the ship for $2 and it is now heading home thanks to $125,000 from Thunder Bay city council to help cover towing costs.

The Alexander Henry is named after a pioneer of the Canadian fur trade.

On Thursday, the ship may be accompanied up the Detroit River by the CCGS Samuel Risley, the ship that took over its icebreaking and buoy-placing duties on the Great Lakes.

“I’m hoping to rally up a bunch of people to be on that waterfront,” said Simon.

The ship is expected to arrive in Thunder Bay on Wednesday and be open to the public by August.

chthompson@postmedia.com

READ MORE

Port Traffic News

Windsor Port Authority traffic ebbs after banner year.

Please click on the link, for the full posting, including pictures: 2017 Traffic Ebbs

Officials expect to bounce back with another great year in 2017 as work on Gordie Howe bridge begins.

CBC News Posted: Jun 07, 2017 7:11 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 07, 2017 7:11 PM ET

Steve Lutsch snapped this photo “to put into perspective” just how big freighters that traverse the
Great Lakes and Detroit River really are. (Steve Lutsch/Facebook)
After a near-record year of ship traffic, the Windsor Port Authority saw cargo volumes take a bit
of a dive in 2016.
The number of ships docking in the port last year dropped 14.85 per cent, while tonnes of cargo
dropped 15.49 per cent, according to figures presented at the port authority’s annual meeting
Wednesday.
But the ebbing numbers simply reflect the banner year of traffic in 2015, largely because of early
construction work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge, say officials.
Windsor Port Authority president and CEO David Cree expects to see ship traffic and cargo
volumes to soar as work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge starts. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)
The 2016 traffic is more on par with the 10-year average, explained David Cree, president and
CEO of the port authority.
“We’re never happy to see a decrease, but that’s sort of the nature of the business,” he said. “We
think we’re going to bounce back very quickly.”
Officials expect to see an increase in traffic in 2017 with numbers from the first month reflecting
that projection, according to port authority board chairman George Sandala.
He anticipates salt aggregate will return to normal levels after a slight decrease last year. A $60-
million expansion at Windsor Salt will be a driving factor behind that, Sandala explained.
Another boon to aggregate starting again this year and ramping up in 2018 will be from the
construction of the Gordie Howe bridge.
A spike in cruise-ship traffic was a bright spot in last year’s numbers. Ports around the Great
Lakes have been promoting tourism internationally, which is starting to roll in, according to
Cree.
“It’s been a nice little added bonus that we were hoping for, but didn’t really expect,” he said.

READ MORE

Windsor Salt Mine Expansion

Windsor Salt Mine Expansion

Windsor Salt mine expansion ‘great news’ for port authority

CBC News Posted: Jul 27, 2016 8:18 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 27, 2016 8:18 AM ET

About 200 people work at the Windsor Salt mine.

The CEO of the Windsor Port Authority says it’s “great news” the Ojibway salt mine is expanding.

Windsor Salt will invest more than $60 million to expand to the next mining level, another 121 metres below ground.

The investment will help boost production and extend the life of the mine by nearly 50 years.

That means steady business at the Windsor Port Authority.

“It’s great news for the Port of Windsor and the port authority and obviously Windsor Salt. They’re one of our biggest operators here in the port; traditionally the largest single terminal in the port,” Windsor Port Authority CEO David Cree said.

Last year, from April 2 to July 31, 1.4 million metric tons of salt was shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway, which includes the Port of Windsor.

Windsor Salt said the journey of one cargo vessel takes almost 1,000 truckloads off Ontario highways.

As part of the expansion, Windsor Salt is also converting its mining method and upgrading its equipment.

The company employs more than 200 people in Windsor.

READ MORE

Seaway system closes another season ice-free on the St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence Seaway

CORNWALL, Ontario – With water temperatures well above the 10-year average, the St. Lawrence Seaway closed its 2015 navigation season ice free on Dec. 31.

Thirty-six million tonnes of cargo transited the waterway during the season, with grain, at volumes well above the five-year average, leading the way. The Seaway once again proved to be a key asset for farmers as they shipped their crops to markets at home and overseas, the agency said.

Grain volumes on the Seaway amounted to 10.8 million tonnes, one of the strongest years in recent memory.  The Port of Thunder Bay, the principal point of entry for grain into the Great Lakes/Seaway System, reported its second-best season in 15 years. Combined with grain being loaded onto ships from other ports such as Hamilton, Duluth/Superior and Toledo, agricultural commodities have become increasingly important to the Great Lakes/Seaway System.

seaway“The Seaway continues to serve as a vital trade artery, enabling cargo to move to more than 50 countries across the globe,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC).

The 2015 season opened on April 2, about a week later than usual, reflecting the frigid conditions in early spring, and closed Dec. 31 with the passage of the vessel Mississagi through Welland Canal Lock 1 at 3:41 a.m. The last vessel to exit the Montreal/Lake Ontario section was the Baie St. Paul, which exited the St. Lambert Lock at 8:41 p.m. Dec. 30.  The 2015 navigation season was 274 days in length.

“Now that the navigation season has concluded, winter maintenance projects at the U.S. Snell and Eisenhower locks are already underway. The maintenance of the U.S. locks is a year round job and Seaway employees are diligently working as we continue to rehabilitate and modernize the Seaway infrastructure under our Asset Renewal Program” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “The 2015 navigation season saw highs and lows in traditional cargoes that move through the Seaway System. Global demand for coal remained below last year’s levels whereas general cargo to and from international and domestic markets remained high with over a 100% increase.  Project cargo and dry bulk materials to support the construction and manufacturing industry also remained in positive standings.”

READ MORE

Jarvis: Truck ferry owner supports new bridge, saying ‘It’s the right thing to do’

The sun coloured the patches of clouds pink. Gulls swooped down, gliding along the Detroit River. To the south, steam poured out of the stacks at ADM, where soybeans are heated then crushed. A freighter anchored at the dock. Across the water, flames shot up from U.S. Steel’s iron mill on Zug Island.

“It’s really beautiful,” said Gregg Ward, whose family owns the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry. “The smoke, the fire, all the noise — it’s very, very cool. It’s really kind of industrial art.”

Most people probably never see the ferry off Maplewood Drive on Windsor’s west side. There’s not much to it, a small, flat barge pulled by a tugboat and a hut housing a customs officer. But it helps keep the busiest commercial border crossing between Canada and the U.S. — about 7,000 trucks a day carrying a quarter of the $700-billion annual trade between the two countries — moving.

The ferry carries only about 50 trucks a day, but they’re trucks that can’t go across the bridge or through the tunnel because they’re loaded with hazardous materials like automotive paint, fuel and whiskey. And when traffic on the bridge grinds to a halt, like it did after 9-11, this ferry keeps chugging.

Dave Seymour of LaSalle, captain of the tugboat Stormont, expertly nudged the barge into the dock in Windsor with barely a bump early one recent morning.

Advertisement

“There’s a little trick to it,” said Seymour. “You have to learn the current, the wind, know what you’ve got on board, all the variables.”

The trucks on the barge create the same effect as a sail. Sometimes they block his view, so deckhand Doug Pettit, bundled against the chill, radios their position.

The ferry was picking up a wind tower from CS Wind. The base, one of three pieces, was massive — 188 feet long and 235,000 pounds, including the tractor trailer carrying it. It was too big for the bridge or tunnel, even for the Blue Water Bridge near Sarnia. If it weren’t for the ferry, driver Brian Hardy would have to drive all the way around the Great Lakes.

It’s a science and an art getting the tower on the barge. It takes four people — the driver and three others, one using wireless remote control to help steer from behind.

Truckf1

Gregg Ward’s ferry carries trucks of all shapes and sizes across the international border between Windsor and Detroit. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

After the trailer inches onto the barge, it’s disconnected from the tractor, which is then parked next to it. It’s the only way to fit the entire vehicle.

When the barge finally slips away again, it’s so smooth it feels like it’s not moving. The trip back, north and west across the river to the terminal across from Zug Island, takes 20 minutes. But it’s another world. U.S. Steel’s two blast furnaces, blackened behemoths, loom over the terminal. It’s like a post-apocalyptic scene out of Mad Max. The signs for the ferry, replaced last summer, look 50 years old.

“All the soot,” said Ward.

An American who now lives in Dearborn, Ward started the ferry with his father, John, 25 years ago.

“The last thing I expected to be doing was this,” he said, laughing.

He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and has a degree in Asian history and French from the University of Michigan and an MBA in finance from Michigan State.

“Everyone I graduated with went into some kind of banking,” he said.

They started the ferry after a Windsor Port Authority study in the late 1980s called for an alternative border crossing on the water.

“We thought it would be a really simple business,” Ward said. “Of course, nothing is ever simple.”

Truckf2

Truck ferry owner Gregg Ward at the Windsor dock where trucks of all shapes and sizes are transported across the international border between Windsor and Detroit. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

Ward, a 54-year-old single father of two, including a son with autism, is an exceedingly nice guy who is forever upbeat. And there he was, up against the notorious, no-holds-barred billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge, Matty Moroun.

The bridge, which is not permitted to carry vehicles with hazardous materials, told companies they could cross anyway. It carried gasoline tankers after the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Ward watched Moroun take over neighbourhoods and a public park. He watched him try to buy votes. And he watched him start building a twin span without permission. Most people were too intimidated to speak up.

Ward was summoned to a meeting with former bridge vice-president Remo Mancini one day, he told The Windsor Star’s Dave Battagello. Moroun was planning to take over his ferry business. Mancini placed documents in front of Ward, and when Ward refused to sign them, Mancini reportedly said, “No, Gregg, you don’t understand, I need you to sign this.”

He didn’t sign. Instead, he became one of the first people to speak publicly, including testifying before governments, about Moroun’s abuses and the need for a new bridge.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he says simply.

He quotes Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman and philosopher: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

“I was raised by my parents to stand up for what’s right regardless of personal consequences,” he said, though he’s embarrassed talking about himself.

And Moroun’s behaviour really set him off.

“I see the Ambassador Bridge, with their continuous, arrogant disregard of the public good, as nothing but well-dressed thugs,” he said. “It’s against the idea of our democracy. It’s one person one vote, not one dollar one vote. It’s running roughshod over the community.

“If little old insignificant me can be a pebble in his (Moroun’s) shoe, I’m happy to do it,” he said. “I should do it.”

The defining moment was when gasoline tankers started crossing the bridge. The government told the bridge it can’t do that. Moroun told the government it can’t tell him what to do.

“Here you have someone who controls the border who’s so arrogant,” said Ward. “It’s amazing to me, the amount of gall, the greed. That really set me off.”

That was when, as he put it, “I was very, very vocal.”

When he testified before Congress in 2007, people warned him, “You’re going to end up dead.”

But Ward continued.

The Ambassador Bridge, the most important border crossing between Canada and the U.S., the lifeline of the biggest trading partnership in the world, is 86 years old and owned by someone who “thumbs his nose at government,” he said.

“We’re the only alternative,” he said. “That’s what’s extremely scary.”

After 9-11, when trucks lined up for miles and waited 14 hours to cross the bridge, Ward’s little ferry moved them 24 hours a day. General Motors credited the ferry with keeping its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant open.

Truckf3

Truck ferry owner Gregg Ward at the Windsor dock where trucks of all shapes and sizes are transported across the international border and the Detroit River to Detroit, Mich. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

The irony is that most people who support the new bridge will benefit from it — except Ward. The crossing he has long called for will probably put him out of business. It will carry trucks with hazardous materials.

“And the bad news is …,” he shrugged.

His support for the new bridge is so counterintuitive that it surprises people. It has earned him tremendous respect.

“I was struck by how this fellow would be such a big advocate for a bridge that would put him out of business,” said Roy Norton, former Canadian Consul-General in Detroit. “He really does have the greater good at heart.”

Windsor West MP Brian Masse called him “nothing short of a hero.”

“He has done the right thing without any preconditions.”

During the long, arduous fight for a new bridge, that made people who count listen.

“That has been noteworthy to everyone,” said Norton. “When a little guy like Gregg Ward speaks up, and he’s going to lose, but he does the right thing, that has more weight.”

It’s especially generous considering that the Canadian government used to make him pay the $50,000 salary of his customs officer and is still trying to charge him $25,000 a year for icebreaking, even though the U.S. Coast Guard does it for free.

So what will he do when the new bridge opens?

“That’s a good question,” he said.

READ MORE