St. Lawrence Seaway continues pivotal role as it begins 60th season

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) marked the system’s 60th anniversary March 26 with the opening of the 2019 navigation season. Loaded with a bulk cargo of titanium chloride, the Federal Kumano served as the opening vessel, transiting the St. Lambert Lock in Montreal, Canada on its way to the Port of Ashtabula, Ohio.

The Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau was among the dignitaries at the St. Lambert Lock to celebrate the Seaway’s anniversary.

“The St. Lawrence Seaway has a distinguished past, a dynamic and vital present and will continue to play a pivotal role in Canada’s economy in the future,” said Garneau during the ceremony. “It is with that in mind that the Government of Canada is continuously working with the Seaway and its partners to look at opportunities for increased economic and commercial developments and to move towards a more sustainable future.”

“The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system is a vital maritime transportation system and a driver of economic development and job creation in the region,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, from her office in Washington, D.C.

The St. Lawrence Seaway produced strong results in 2018, with 41 million metric tons of cargo moving through its locks. With continued momentum in the grain sector, the 2019 navigation season should offer further gains in tonnage, enabling the Seaway to reach 42 million metric tons of cargo.

“As the binational waterway turns 60, it is resilient and ready for the future,” said SLSDC Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. “New technologies, an exceptional reliability record, and significant investments in infrastructure are enhancing efficiencies and keeping the Seaway safe and competitive.”

Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, praised Seaway employees for their role in implementing a Hands-Free Mooring system and converting the Seaway’s locks to remote operation.

“Today, thanks to the many efforts of both past and present employees, we have a Seaway that offers carriers a more competitive route to the heartland of North America. With strong advancements in safety, reliability and efficiency, the Seaway is equipped to effectively serve its stakeholders for decades to come. A multi-billion dollar fleet renewal program being undertaken by Seaway carriers points to a bright future ahead for the waterway as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.”

As the most energy efficient mode of transportation, with the lowest carbon footprint, marine transportation offers an attractive means of boosting economic activity in a sustainable manner.

Andrea Lee