World Maritime Day: Marine shipping critical to North American trade
Great Lakes/St. Lawrence shipping is critical to the competitiveness and global trade success of Canada and the United States and presents an enormous opportunity for growth that will increase employment and prosperity while at same time benefitting our communities by reducing carbon emissions and transportation bottlenecks.
That’s the message the Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) shared with government and policymakers September 28 as the global maritime industry celebrated World Maritime Day.
“The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence system is an inland waterway resource of ships, ports and the people who operate them that is truly unique in the world. Decades of innovation, investment and commitment have created a marine highway that is the safest and most environmentally friendly way to connect cities in the economic epicenter of North America to each other and to global markets,” said Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “Collectively, it is in everyone’s best interests to all be rowing the boat in the same direction to realize this waterway’s true potential.”
Notable government policy that can foster this growth includes:
- Ensuring that the renegotiation of NAFTA does not include any additional tariffs or non-tariff barriers on Canadian-U.S. cross-border trade
- Putting in place protective, yet practical and harmonized ballast water regulations across the binational region
- Adding icebreaker capacity and other investments that optimize seasonal efficiency by extending the Seaway closing date another two weeks (in sync with the Soo Locks’ operating period); and ensuring U.S. funding proceeds for a second Poe-sized lock at the Soo Locks
- Modernizing pilotage services to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve service delivery, while maintaining the high level of safety for which the system is known
World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day. Every year, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities, and to highlight the significant contribution of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations regulatory body, and its member states’ global efforts to improve the safety, security and efficiency of shipping and to protect the marine environment.
This year’s IMO theme was “Connecting Ships, Ports and People,” highlighting the importance of “joined-up” maritime development both from a policy and a practical perspective.
Burrows added: “Great Lakes/St. Lawrence shipping’s success depends on a system-wide approach to policymaking and commercial development from both government and industry. The CMC represents all aspects of the maritime supply chain, including its customers, and we are working with our members and other stakeholders to advocate for one effective, unified vision for sustainable growth.”