Self-Unloader For ACR Launched At Collingwood Yard

Algoma Central Railway of Sault Ste.

Marie, the third largest Canadian Great Lakes operator, recently christened the 13th vessel in its fleet in honor of the town of Collingwood with the launching there of the M/V Algowood.

Mrs. Douglas A. Berlis, whose husband is vice president and general counsel of Algoma Central, cracked the traditional bottle of champagne to launch the ship as thousands watched. A special guest at the launching and christening was The Honorable John B. Aird, who was recently appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Mr. Aird was formerly chairman of Algoma Central Railway (ACR).

The vessel is the 11th to be built for Algoma Central by Collingwood Shipyards in the past 15 years and the fourth in the last four. New ACR chairman Henry N.R.

Jackman said there are two more on order, affirming the company's confidence in the future of Great Lakes shipping. The 730- foot self-unloader will undergo four months of intensive finishing work before she joins her 12 sister ships in active duty. The $35- million Algowood is the company's ninth self-unloader.

Peter Cresswell, vice president of Algoma Central's Marine Division, said that a 10th self-unloader will be built by Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd. of Collingwood for delivery in 1983. In addition, a bulk freighter, for the grain and ore trade, has been ordered for delivery in 1982.

The Algowood is designed to operate on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River as far east as Sept lies. The primary trade route for this vessel, according to Mr. Cresswell, will be iron ore from Marquette, Mich., to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with particular emphasis on winter navigation to avoid stockpiling at the steel mill.

Other typical cargoes will be Western Canadian coal from Thunder Bay to Ontario Hydro generating stations, salt from Goderich to Lower St. Lawrence River ports, and stone cargoes to various ports on the Great Lakes.

The bow is modified ram form with a backward sloping section in the region of the load waterline, thereby increasing the icebreaking and ice navigating abilities of the vessel. As on the Algoport, launched last year, the self-unloading system is of major importance as it enables the Algowood to minimize her port stay and maximize her cargo-carrying time. She is capable of speeds up to 16 mph, and accommodates a crew of 28.

Algoma Central Railway is the oldest Canadian vessel operator in bulk freight services, but its fleet is one of the most modern in the Great Lakes. ACR's fleet has a total carrying capacity in excess of 300,000 gross tons. The marine division increased its revenues last year to a record $57.2 million from $43.6 million in 1978, while total tonnage carried rose by 18 percent to 14.7 million tons.

Incorporated in 1899, the company operated for many years primarily as a wilderness railroad to transport iron ore and forest products out of northern Ontario. In recent years, Algoma Central has become a diversified transportation company moving cargo by water, rail, and road. It operates a fleet of 13 dry bulk cargo vessels principally on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The company's railway services the industrial and social transportation needs of Saulte Ste. Marie, its surrounding area and beyond.

Its trucking subsidiary, Algocen Transport Holdings Limited (Thibodeau-Finch Express Ltd.), has trucking and warehousing operations in southern Ontario and Quebec.

In addition, the firm has extensive real estate holdings, owns Herb Fraser and Associates Limited, which is a ship-repair facility in Port Colborne, Ontario, and owns about 850,000 acres of land, including mineral and timber rights, in the Algoma region.

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