North American Tech Outlook: Canada Steamship Lines

by Stormy Wylie
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Canada Steamship Lines, Inc., headquartered in Montreal and with affiliated offices in Halifax, Winnipeg, Burlington, Boston and Singapore, operates a fleet of 12 vessels on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway system. The company specializes in self-unloading bulk carriers with inland, coastal and deep-sea trading capabilities that offer shippers versatility and reliability.

Since 1845, CSL has played a pivotal role in supplying raw materials to North American steel, power generation, agriculture and construction industries. While its main customer base is in the Great Lakes, the company has expanded its scope of operations to include the East and West Coasts of North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and the Far East. Today, CSL controls the largest fleet of self-unloading vessels in the world and handles annual bulk cargo movements totaling 30 million tonnes.

The first of three newly designed Great Lakes self-unloaders will enter service in 1999. These vessels are being rejuvenated as part of the company's C$100-million capital investment project for its domestic fleet. Each ship will be given a new forebody section — the entire area forward of the engine compartment and accommodation block — that takes advantage of the seaways' new size allowances at 740 feet in length and 78 feet in width. Automated cargo-handling and marine systems will place these self-unloaders among the most advanced in the world.

Other new building projects include three new Panamax self-unloaders and three new handysize geared bulkers to be delivered to CSL and its partnership operations this year.

CSL achieved International Safety Management Code certification in 1998. To ensure that its crews receive ongoing training even while at sea, the company has developed a computer-based training program that provides shipboard personnel with instruction on everything from customer service to basic fire and safety precautions.

The fleet investment projects, employee training programs and technology innovation reflect CSL's pioneering spirit and help define the company's commitment to its customers. For it's always with improved customer service in mind that CSL embarks on such initiatives.