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  January 27th, 2017 | Written by

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Vital to Growth, Trade

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  • Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway would benefit from increased infrastructure spending.
  • Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau plan to invest heavily in infrastructure spending.
  • Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway has potential to create more marine traffic at lower cost.

In a speech last week in Toronto, new Chamber of Marine Commerce President Bruce Burrows called the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway a vital engine of sustainable growth that would benefit from increased infrastructure spending in Canada and the U.S.

Burrows, who took up his new post in December, pointed to promises from President Donald Trump, and the plans by the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to invest heavily in infrastructure spending.

“I believe this sector has enormous untapped potential that can be unleashed to create more marine traffic at lower cost,” said Burrows at the Chamber’s annual luncheon. “I’m convinced that inland and coastal shipping in Canada and the U.S. has tremendous capacity to grow. And current economic and political conditions are conducive to seeing this goal realized. Shipping is efficient, safe and sustainable. Shipping is vital to growth, trade and new jobs.”

New infrastructure investment will generate increased volumes of materials being shipped on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, and our coasts, Burrows proclaimed. “Investments in icebreaking resources, waterways, locks and portside infrastructure, and more efficient delivery of marine navigational services would unleash the full sustainable potential of shipping,” he added.

Burrows noted that all signs indicate reduced red tape and business fees under President Trump and that he hoped the U.S. administration would work closely with the Canadian government to address the “hodgepodge of regulations that currently govern the bi-national waters that we work within.”

He also emphasized that marine shipping’s green advantage bodes well in today’s environmentally- and climate-conscious world. “With our fuel-efficient ships, we have a lower carbon footprint than road or rail. And we enjoy low congestion relative to other major trade corridors. Marine shipping is an attractive alternative for governments committed to a sustainable transportation future, with the capacity to do even more to accelerate both economic and environmental progress.”

The luncheon, a signature event during a week of industry meetings, attracted a crowd of more than 200 Canadian and U.S. shipping, industrial and agricultural executives along with federal, provincial, and local government representatives.