Hamilton-Oshawa Ports partnering up to operate wharves on Welland Canal at Thorold


Published January 5, 2024 at 11:24 am

Welland Canal at Thorold

Stevedore and marine logistics giant QSL is partnering with the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) at the Thorold Multimodal Hub, a 500-plus-acre industrial complex in Niagara Region with access to the Welland Canal.

The partnership with Quebec-based QSL, which operates in Hamilton and in more than 60 other terminals in Canada and the USA, will be on 55 acres of combined SLSMC and HOPA land in Thorold that will be used for cargo handling and storage.

QSL will operate SLSMC Wharves 5 & 6 as part of the agreement.

“We welcome the expertise of stevedoring provider QSL,” said HOPA CEO Ian Hamilton “Niagara’s maritime sector is thriving and will benefit from the addition of QSL’s technical expertise and diverse international customer base. We look forward to working as partners to grow the logistics capacity and supply chain resilience in the Great Lakes region.”

The SLSMC recently invested $7 million to upgrade the wharves and CEO Terence Bowles said more upgrades are coming to allow for more cargo movement through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system.

“This investment is part of our commitment to maintaining and upgrading the binational Seaway and strengthening Canada’s national supply chain.”

Robert Bellisle, QSL’s President and CEO, said the alliance “strengthens our Ontario presence and reinforces our collaboration with two key stakeholders” and aligns with the company’s desire to be major player in the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes corridor.

The news follows HOPA’s recent expansion of its Niagara lands portfolio with the addition of three new parcels, two in Thorold (12 and 16 acres) and one in Port Colborne (40 acres). These lands are owned by Transport Canada and were previously declared surplus to the operation of the Welland Canal. All three parcels are active or legacy industrial sites and are ready for a switch to modern industrial uses.

The Thorold land transfer adds two new development parcels to the Thorold Multimodal Hub, revitalized legacy industrial facilities now home to more than 25 companies. The Thorold Hub was also shortlisted for a 2023 ‘Brownie’ Brownfield Redevelopment Award.

“The expansion project aligns with HOPA’s mission to lead an integrated port network on the Great Lakes,” noted Hamilton. “Our ports serve as critical trade gateways to Canada’s largest and most dynamic economic region. By having more lands and multimodal services to support industry, we can help keep our economy thriving.”

Larissa Fenn, VP of Corporate Affairs at HOPA Ports, said all the lands in the area “function together” as an integrated multimodal industrial hub. “In addition to rail and marine infrastructure, Hub users will now have access to QSL’s extensive marine services and expertise.”

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