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  June 4th, 2024 | Written by

A Strong Start to Shipping Shows Resilience on the St. Lawrence Seaway

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Early tonnage reports for the 66th navigation season on the St. Lawrence Seaway indicate a robust beginning, showcasing the resilience, predictability, and sustainability of this crucial binational waterway system.

Read also: St. Lawrence Seaway Opens 58th Navigation Season

Thanks to minimal winter ice on the Great Lakes, fleet positioning was expedited, boosting grain and potash traffic. Canadian and U.S. grain shipments have surged by 39,000 metric tonnes compared to the previous year, reaching approximately 1.21 million metric tonnes so far. Similarly, potash traffic has increased by 83,000 tonnes, totaling 110,000 metric tonnes to date. Potash, encompassing various potassium-rich minerals, is essential in fertilizers for enhancing plant growth, crop yield, disease resistance, and water preservation.

“Our commitment to infrastructure renewal underpins the Seaway’s exceptional reliability. Marine transportation remains the most fuel-efficient and cost-effective method for moving goods,” stated Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “A recent study highlighted that the marine industry in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway region supports nearly 360,000 jobs and generates $66.1 billion CAD in economic activity.”

Winter maintenance investments by the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and the U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS) ensure a high state of readiness and reliability. From 2019 to 2024, SLSMC invested around $379 million CAD in infrastructure renewal for Canadian assets, while GLS invested $225 million USD in U.S. assets since 2009. In addition to operating a safe, reliable, and efficient binational waterway and lock system, SLSMC and GLS are partnering with industry stakeholders on the Green Shipping Corridor Network Initiative. This effort underscores their commitment to sustainability, promoting decarbonization, and shaping a sustainable future for the marine sector.

“The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System is crucial to North America’s economic health, supply chain strength, and our quality of life,” noted Adam Tindall-Schlicht, Administrator of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “We embrace the significant responsibility of managing this vital infrastructure, meeting it with planning, dedication, and continuous investment to exceed the expectations of businesses and consumers relying on us daily. I thank our team and partners for their continuous efforts and wish all Seaway users a successful shipping season.”

Tonnage statistics for May are forthcoming and are anticipated to show continued positive trends as the St. Lawrence Seaway’s navigation season progresses.