Custom-designed self-unloader begins service for Windsor Salt

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The MV Nukumi, Canada Steamship Lines’ new diesel-electric self-unloading vessel, completed its inaugural loading and discharge of deicing salt earlier this month for Windsor Salt.

Purpose-designed to service Windsor Salt’s deicing salt shipping and handling needs in Eastern Canada, the vessel’s state-of-the-art technology and innovative features were put to the test for the first time during loading at the Mines Seleines salt mine in the Magdalene Islands, and during discharge in Montreal.

On its first trip to the Mines Seleine salt mine, the ship’s modern hull design and twin-fin diesel-electric propulsion system demonstrated the vessel’s ability to transit through narrow channels more quickly, at lower tide and with exceptional maneuverability.

Years of development

“The successful launch of Nukumi’s operations is the culmination of many years of planning with our visionary partner, Windsor Salt, to achieve the next level of safe, sustainable and efficient shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region,” said Louis Martel, president and CEO of The CSL Group.

“We are extremely proud of our vessel’s early performance, which is a testament to the expertise, ingenuity and skill of our design and newbuild teams who conceived Nukumi, and of our seafarers who are now operating this highly sophisticated ship.”

The ship’s fully automated single point of loading and cargo handling systems performed as designed and eliminated the need for vessel shifting during loading, making for a safer and more efficient operation.

During discharge in Montreal, the vessel’s shuttle discharge boom arrangement significantly reduced shifting, while sensor technology installed on the boom and programmed to auto-pile mode contributed to saving time and crew effort.

Environmental innovation

Several innovations built into the design of MV Nukumi are also reducing the ship’s overall environmental footprint and are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants by 25 percent and 80 percent respectively, compared with previous ships servicing the same routes. These include diesel-electric tier 3 engines, a ballast water treatment system, a waste heat recovery system, and overall quieter machinery.

“Canadians count on the critical deicing salts that Nukumi will deliver to stockpiles throughout Eastern Canada to help keep roadways safe during the winter,” said Luc Savoie, vice-president and chief commercial officer at Windsor Salt Ltd.

“Reducing the environmental impact of shipping our deicing salt and ensuring everyone’s safety are important objectives at Windsor Salt, and we are delighted that this new, advanced ship will help us achieve both.”

CSL received financial support in the ship’s development from the Ministère des Transports du Québec.

“With Avantage Saint-Laurent, our government has given Quebec a clear vision for the marine industry: aligning economic development and protecting ecosystems. CSL’s Nukumi is a perfect example as to what we want to do on the St. Lawrence. I am very proud to support this project, which uses innovative marine transportation practices that respect the environment, and has concrete benefits for communities,” said Chantal Rouleau, Quebec’s minister for transport.