The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced on May 22 that it will receive a prestigious award from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for developing the world’s first Hands-Free Mooring (HFM) system for ships transiting its locks. The Promising Innovation in Transport Award is offered by the International Transport Forum at the OECD, an intergovernmental organization for the transport sector, with 54 member countries. It will be presented on May 28th in Leipzig, Germany, during the 2015 Summit of Transport Ministers.
The SLSMC will receive the award in the freight category for its pioneering work, with the aid of its supplier Cavotec. The St. Lawrence Seaway’s 15 locks serve to lift ships a total of 168 meters (551 feet) as they transit from Montreal to Lake Erie. The HFM system employs vacuum pads mounted on vertical rails to secure the ship during the lockage process, tracking the ship as it is raised or lowered, while keeping it at a fixed distance from the lock wall.
With this equipment, the SLSMC will replace the traditional practice of manually securing cargo ships in locks with steel mooring lines, which is time consuming, labour intensive and potentially dangerous if a line breaks. This revised method of processing ships enables the SLSMC to orchestrate gains in operating efficiency and safety.