Since 1956, McKeil Marine has been one of Canada’s leading marine service providers, inspired by challenges and driven to solutions.
It all started with a 35-foot-long wooden boat built by founder Evans McKeil and his father, William, to shuttle workers and supplies to work sites established for the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway was completed in 1959. By 1960, McKeil had gone on to acquire a fleet of ten tugs, workboats, and barges, operating throughout the Great Lakes and the Seaway system.
This growth and evolution continue today. McKeil Marine is one of the only marine transportation companies in Canada that can offer a full spectrum of marine services. These include:
- transportation of liquid cargoes
- transportation of bulk cargoes
- transportation of breakbulk cargoes
- marine construction (including offshore drilling)
- project cargo management
- equipment rental
- ship docking and salvage operations
Presently, McKeil is one of the fastest-growing marine service providers on the Great Lakes. Its diversified fleet, one of the youngest in Canada, consists of: four chemical tankers; one pneumatic cement vessel; four bulkers; one self-unloader; four larger tug-and-barge units able to carry over 8,000 metric tonnes of cargo; 22 monohull barges, ranging from a capacity of 1,000 to 20,000 metric tonnes; 15 tugs with anywhere from 500BHP to 6,000BHP; and a large complement of sectional barges and workboats.
Niche-sized vessels allow McKeil to maintain a focus on smaller 9,000- to 15,000-tonne cargo sizes. Within its fleet, McKeil has some unique vessels. The McKeil Spirit is a custom-engineered pneumatic self-unloader with as much horsepower on her deck as in her engine room. Then there’s the Evans Spirit, distinguished by two specially designed jib cranes which enable efficient cargo handling that is fully automatic.
In following current trading patterns, McKeil vessels visit major Canadian and US ports throughout the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway, along with the East Coast of Canada. McKeil’s fleet handles a variety of commodities — canola, corn, wheat, soybeans, coal, DRI-C, slag, coke, pig iron, aluminum, steel, scrap metal, salt, aggregate, fertilizer, and sugar — to name a few.
As many ask, “What next?” in the post-pandemic period of recovery, McKeil is optimistic of more growth. Always looking ahead and anticipating customer needs, McKeil sees the potential for future vessel acquisitions. Paulo Pessoa, V.P. of Commercial, sums it up: “We’re not done yet.”