Local shipping route study completed

December 13, 2012, Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario – The Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance (SLIA) met December 11th and received the completed “Shipping Route Assessment for Oversize Freight from Sarnia-Lambton” study.

The report, commissioned by the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership on behalf of SLIA, was completed by local engineering firm MIG Engineering and led by Neil Sinclair.

Funding for the report came from the County of Lambton and the National Research Council.

The Shipping Route Assessment was initiated, based on research and activities of the SLIA executive and member companies, to identify business opportunities that match local expertise.

Significant metal fabrication needs were confirmed in the Alberta Oil Sands, as well as needs for the same type of equipment on the Canadian East Coast, and internationally. These opportunities have been identified as both immediate and long term. They have the potential to create numerous highly skilled well paying jobs for our area and will positively impact the large supply chain that exists in Sarnia-Lambton.

The report addresses the need to move oversized fabricated metal “modules” (typically 24’ x 24’ x 120’) from the many fabrication shops in the City of Sarnia and St. Clair Township to a common appropriate loading dock on the St. Clair River. From there they can be shipped by barge or freighter to their ultimate destination. It is noted that there are currently difficulties getting modules of this size from Thunder Bay to the Oil Sands, but this situation could change in the future as well.

Existing dock sites considered as potentially appropriate include: the Port of Sarnia; TransAlta (former Dow); Mooretown Dock; and Lambton Power Generation. These sites and the road routes leading to them were studied in detail. Each of the sites and routes has advantages and disadvantages to be considered.

The study provides preliminary estimates of the cost of infrastructure improvements such as permanently raising or burying power lines, re-enforcing culverts, widening intersections, and making changes to dock facilities for each site. The preliminary cost estimates range from $3.6 million (Port of Sarnia) to $7.5 million (Lambton Power Generation). SLIA will be holding further meetings to determine their own ranking of sites and to meet with the various public and private interests to obtain their advice and input as to next steps.

There are currently several potential federal and provincial programs available that may consider funding infrastructure improvements. SLIA hopes that they can help make the case for this type of funding to be secured. The recommended permanent changes, once completed, would minimize traffic disruption for local residents, allow companies to more competitively bid on these large fabrication contracts, and create many new jobs in Sarnia-Lambton.

Link to the full Shipping Route Assessment report at www.slep.wpengine.com/documents/198916.pdf.

Find information on the Sarnia-Lambton Industrial Alliance at www.sarnialambtonindustrialalliance.com.

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For more information or comment on behalf of the Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance contact:

David Moody
Project Leader, Business Growth Services
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
519-332-1820 / 1-800-972-7642

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