CWB scores new ship
CWB's growing grain-handling network now includes a ship. The organization, formerly known as the Canadian Wheat Board, has taken delivery of the CWB Marquis. Built at the Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in China, the ship is on its way ...
CWB's growing grain-handling network now includes a ship.
The organization, formerly known as the Canadian Wheat Board, has taken delivery of the CWB Marquis. Built at the Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in China, the ship is on its way to North America and is expected to reach the St. Lawrence Seaway by the end of the year. Once in service, it will carry grain east out of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and iron ore from seaports back into the Great Lakes.
The CWB Marquis is named after the Marquis wheat variety, the first variety of the crop bred specifically for the short Canadian growing season.
The Chinese company is building a second ship for CWB; it will be completed next year. That ship also will carry grain and iron ore.
"Our investment in state-of-the-art lakers complements CWB's growing list of assets, and the ships will play a strategic role in an integrated grain handling supply chain," says Ian White, CWB president and CEO.
Both ships are Equinox-class vessels, environmentally friendly bulk carriers that carry more cargo, sail faster and consume less fuel than their predecessors, according to Winnipeg, Manitoba-based CWB.
The ships will be managed and operated by Algoma Central Corp., which has the largest Canadian fleet on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway. The fleet already includes two Equinox-class vessels built in China.
CWB markets crops such as wheat, durum, barley, canola and peas to customers around the world. The organization, which lost its marketing monopoly on Canadian wheat and barley in August 2012, has been relying on grain-handling facilities owned by rivals.
As part of its ongoing privatization plan, CWB is creating its own distribution network, which includes the Equinox-class vessels and a number of grain elevators that the organization has either bought or is building.
The CWB ships were ordered by farmer-elected directors of the former Canadian Wheat Board in 2011, before the organization was privatized. A group of western Canadian farmers, known as Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, later filed a class-action lawsuit. It claims all assets of the CWB, including the ships, were bought with the proceeds of western Canadian grain and belong to western Canadian farmers.
A recent court ruling went against the farmers, who now say they expect to take the case to the Canadian Supreme Court, according to published reports.