Inside Logistics

Windsor Salt and CSL building custom salt ship

Self-unloading ship with a deadweight of 26,000 tonnes will come into service in 2022


February 12, 2021
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The keel laying ceremony for the new Windsor Salt-CSL new ship was held on January 29,2021. (CNW Group/The CSL Group Inc.)

K+S Windsor Salt Ltd. (Windsor Salt) and Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), a division of The CSL Group, are working together to build a new state-of-the-art self-unloading ship with a deadweight of 26,000 tonnes.

Windsor Salt and CSL began construction of the custom-made vessel in August 2020 after several years of collaborative planning, which included an environmental impact analysis, ship and shore personnel safety reviews, an efficiency evaluation of cargo operations, and navigational optimization.

The distinctive, purpose-designed vessel was created to service Windsor Salt’s need to deliver deicing salt from its Mines Seleine salt mine on the Magdalen Islands to stockpiles in Montreal, Quebec City, and other destinations within the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland. Windsor Salt’s consistent and timely delivery of deicing salt helps keep roadways safe during the winter season across Eastern Canada.

“Through our partnership with CSL, we wanted to prove not only that we could – but we should strive for better – because it’s important to challenge the status quo, especially when we have the opportunity to reduce our environmental impact and improve safety while delivering the deicing salt Canadians know and trust,” said Tom Labash, marine distribution manager for Windsor Salt.

Sustainable marine transportation

Given the shipping route is located in the sensitive marine environment of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Windsor Salt and CSL worked together to bring several innovations to enhance sustainability and reduce the environmental footprint of the new ship, including:

  • Diesel-electric tier 3 engines
  • A unique hull design that will contribute to cutting CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency;
  • A ballast water treatment system that is expected to reduce the transfer of invasive species;
  • Quieter machinery that will reduce vessel noise to protect the area’s North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals.

Compared to the previous vessel servicing the same salt routes, the new ship is expected to emit approximately 25 percent less greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent fewer harmful air pollutants.

Safer and more efficient

The new ship also features several innovations to enhance efficiency and safety including:

  • A fixed, single point of loading system with a single hopper into which the salt is loaded, combined with a cargo handling system that eliminates the need for the vessel to shift during loading, which will improve the efficiency of cargo operations and the safety of ship and shore personnel.
  • A modern hull design and state-of-the-art propulsion system to enhance the maneuverability of the vessel and increase the safety of navigation in the shallow Magdalen Island channel.

The keel laying ceremony for the newbuild was held at Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China, on January 29, 2021. The vessel is expected to commence operations in the Magdalen Islands at the start of the 2022 navigation season.