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James McLeod
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Oceanex Connaigra is shipping company’s nod to economic good fortune

Capt. Sid Hynes said that looking at the future of Newfoundland and Labrador, he decided Oceanex was going to need a bigger boat.

Capt. Sid Hynes, CEO of Oceanex, shows Transportation Minister Paul Davis the latest addition to his fleet: the Oceanex Connaigra. The new ship will greatly increase Oceanex’s shipping potential to Newfoundland, and it represents a big bet on continued economic prosperity in the province for the coming decades.
— Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

The Oceanex Connaigra, moored in the St. John’s harbour for its official unveiling Tuesday, represents a big bet for the company that the economic future of the province is bright.

“We didn’t build just for today; we planned for many years into the future. We’re confident that this vessel will be a vital piece of this province’s transportation infrastructure,” said Hynes, CEO of Oceanex. “We look at it over the long term; this ship is good for years.”

The ship is absolutely huge. At 210 metres long, its cargo decks cover about four acres — approximately the size of nine regulation NHL rinks, Hynes said.

It can carry more than 1,400 cars at a time, which all together would create a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam more than six kilometres long.

It’s the largest vessel of its kind flying a Canadian flag.

It has an adjustable deck that can move up and down, to carry different sizes of cargo, and it can sail from Montreal to St. John’s in 60 hours.

The Connaigra is also certified as environmentally friendly, with state-of-the art emissions technology and fuel-efficient engines.

It was enough to make Transportation Minister Paul Davis jealous.

“I’ve got to be honest up front, Capt. Hynes, as the minister for transportation and works and ferry services in Newfoundland and Labrador, I’m just a little bit jealous of this vessel,” he said. “It is, no doubt, a captivating vessel.”

Davis said the new ship is a witness to the power of the province’s economy.

“Increased demand for service and the addition of this new vessel is a testament to our thriving economy,” he said. “Construction is booming, the oil-and-gas sector continues to expand as the construction of the Hebron project ramps up, and we have a thriving mining sector as well.”

Mayor Dennis O’Keefe, who was also on hand for the unveiling of the ship, said it was so big that when he first saw it, he mistook it for a cruise ship.

“We’ve had  a lot of ships sail into our port city. We’ve had them all: We’ve had pirate ships, we’ve had cruise ships, we’ve had battle ships,” he said. “Today, what we’re seeing is another level of ship serving our harbour and serving our city.”

Organizations: NHL

Geographic location: Montreal, Newfoundland and Labrador, Hebron

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