At a quick glance, yesterday may have seemed like a typical day at the waterfront property adjacent to Essar Steel Algoma. A ship was there offloading cargo, which is certainly nothing new. However, there was something special about the product being delivered. Instead of a shipment of material related to the steelmaking process, it was 13,500 tons of road salt.
November 4 marked the first shipment – unrelated to steel – for the Port of Algoma. The company, which is a subsidiary of Essar Ports Global Holdings and independent from Essar Steel Algoma, was established in 2014 to look at ways of capitalizing on Sault Ste. Marie’s strategic location at the heart of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System.
Historically, the dock facilities at Essar Steel Algoma were used exclusively by the manufacturing company. Raw materials were brought in and utilized in the steelmaking process, and finished steel products were shipped out. A couple years ago, a number of groups – including the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation and the private sector – began exploring the opportunity of developing a community harbour that the entire region could take advantage of. From that, the Port of Algoma was born.
Yesterday’s shipment of road salt came from southern Ontario. It will be used this winter for highway maintenance and safety throughout the district. Before, this product would have been brought here using dozens upon dozens of transport trucks. Thanks to the Port of Algoma, it can now be shipped here via water at cost of nearly four times cheaper.
For successes like this to be repeated en mass, the dock facilities will need to be redeveloped to meet the need of growing cargo and industrial opportunities. Ultimately, this will require capital investments. Port of Algoma officials, along with their community partners, are working towards this goal. They hope yesterday’s salt shipment is the first in a very long list of future activity at the harbour site, where raw materials, including minerals and wood fibre, can be shipped efficiently and cheaply to, from and through Sault Ste. Marie.
“Due to the community’s strategic location, there’s considerable opportunity for businesses and the region in general to capitalize for this transportation initiative,” said Anshumali Dwivedi, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Algoma. “This is a resource-rich region and, with the port now open for public use, the possibilities are endless.”
To help develop the public harbour project, Port of Algoma officials partnered with the City of Sault Ste. Marie. They have also been working closely with the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, which has been supporting the initiative by seeking out business opportunities and making connections throughout the region.
“Our partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation has been very productive,” said Dwivedi. “Their staff has been extremely helpful in connecting the dots for us. They have been a fantastic resource, and their assistance has been – and continues to be – very much appreciated.”
The project lead at the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation is Dan Hollingsworth, Executive Director of Business Development, who has been working with Port of Algoma officials from the beginning. “We are pleased to see this transportation infrastructure project move forward,” he said. “The redevelopment and outreach is leading to new cargos and customers for the Port of Algoma. The planned enhancement at the port will provide needed infrastructure to ensure cost-efficient shipping alternatives for industrial growth in the region.”
For more information on the Port of Algoma, visit www.algomaport.com.