In October 2010, the Government of Canada elected to remove a long standing 25% import duty on vessels built in foreign yards and brought under Canadian flag. This duty had been put in place to protect Canadian shipyards from foreign competition but was becoming increasingly damaging to domestic shippers as more Canadian yards went into decline and bankruptcy or became unable to build new commercial vessels at economic costs. This duty remission combined with falling orders at Chinese shipyards and a high Canadian dollar proved to be the perfect environment for a long awaited Great Lakes fleet renewal program that ultimately translated into CSL’s Trillium Class program.
The Trillium Class vessels were designed by the Canadian firm Cooke Naval Architect Consultants Inc. to be CSL’s newest generation of state-of-the-art bulk carriers focusing on maximum fuel efficiency, minimal environmental impact and providing overall operational efficiency while meeting evolving needs of customers on the Great Lakes. The naming scheme for these four vessels follows in the footsteps of CSL’s famous ‘Bay Class’ straight deckers launched in the 1960’s.
The contract to build this new generation of self unloading lakers was awarded to Chengxi Shipyard of Jiangyin, Jiangsu China. The keel for the first of four nearly identical sister ships, Hull CX9301, was laid on March 30, 2011. By the end of the calendar year the vessel was ready to take to the water for the first time and was launched on Christmas Eve 2011. In a joint ceremony with the new Panamax bulker Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin, the new laker was christened Baie St. Paul (2). Following successful sea trials, the Baie St. Paul was delivered to CSL on September 27. Complete, she departed China on October 5, 2012 to begin her delivery trip across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal and on to Montreal, Quebec . The new vessel successfully arrived at Montreal on December 1, 2012 where she spent the next two weeks having the temporary hull strengthening removed that had been installed for the deep sea voyage, in addition to other minor modifications to prepare her for entering service on the Great Lakes.
The name Baie St. Paul has been associated with CSL since 1962. The first Baie St. Paul was launched on November 23, 1962 at Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon PQ. This vessel measured 730ft long by 75ft wide 39.03ft deep and was powered by a John Inglis 10,000 SHP steam turbine engine, giving her a rated service speed of 14.5 knots. This ‘Bay Class’ straight decker sailed her entire career with CSL until being sold to Upper Lakes Shipping and renamed Canadian Pathfinder. She never operated under this name and was sold for scrap in 1995.
The new Baie St. Paul is a modern, efficient vessel that measures 740-feet long by 78-feet wide and 48-feet deep. The self-unloader's 25 hatches feed into 5 holds where she can carry approximately 37,690 tons at the mid-summer draft of 29.5ft. The vessel displaces 8,101 tons lightship. Her self-unloading equipment consists of a two-belt gravity fed system with a ‘C’ type loop belt elevator that feeds a stern mounted discharge boom that can unload at up to 5,450 tons per hour. Motive power is supplied by a single M.A.N B&W 6S50ME-B9 6-cylinder, slow speed diesel engine producing 8750kw or 10,680 BHP. Power is transmitted directly to a single controllable pitch propeller that can push her to a service speed of 13.5 knots. She is equipped with both bow and stern thrusters. The ship is up to 5 percent more fuel efficient than CSL's previous class of ships, and will save approximately 750 tonnes of fuel per year – amounting to yearly carbon emissions reductions of 2,400 tonnes.
The Baie St. Paul departed Montreal on December 15, 2012 on her maiden voyage on the Great Lakes system. Her first port of call was Windsor, Ontario to unload a partial cargo of ballast stone that had been loaded in China for extra stability during the Pacific crossing. After a successful discharge, she proceeded upbound to Superior, Wisconsin. to take on her first paying load of taconite pellets for the transshipment facility at Quebec City. She returned to Montreal for winter layup on December 30, 2012.
Of note, the Baie St. Paul was named the International Bulk Journal’s 2012 Bulk Ship of the Year and was selected by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects as a Significant Ship of 2012. The ship was also selected to open the St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season on March 22, 2013 to showcase the new vessel and what is to become the future of shipping on the Great Lakes.