Navigation Season on a Positive Note

January 9, 2008

Cornwall, Ontario (January 9, 2008) – With shipping volumes experiencing a rebound after a modest start to the season, The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) capped the 2007 navigation season on December 28th with the passage of the CSL Group’s Birchglen.  The vessel was proceeding downstream at 14:24 hours when it cleared the St. Lambert Lock in Montreal, establishing a Seaway navigation season for 2007 that spanned some 283 days.  This season marks the second consecutive season that the Seaway was open for a record 283 days.

The Welland Canal remained open to navigation until December 29th, ushering the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Griffon through Lock 8 at 19:15 hours.

Total Seaway cargo volume for 2007 is estimated to amount to 42.7 million tonnes.  While lower than the 2006 total of 47 million tonnes, due principally to lower ocean vessel traffic and steel imports into the Seaway, the volume demonstrates the resilience of the system through the complete economic cycle.

“We are satisfied with our accomplishments in 2007” stated Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the SLSMC.  “While the season started slowly, we enjoyed a strong resurgence in cargo volumes by mid-summer, and this trend continued through the fall.  We are particularly optimistic that the momentum in project cargoes that we observed this year will carry forward into the future.  Shipments of specialty cargoes such as wind turbine components, destined for various “green energy” projects throughout Eastern North America, have become a hallmark of the Seaway’s drive to diversify its cargo base.”

Collister (“Terry”) Johnson, Jr., the U.S. Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, added “The Seaway accomplishments in 2007 were significant. Completion of the bi-national, interagency Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study provides a 50-year roadmap for a modernized, sustainable marine system, one that could attract new markets while potentially serving as a means of reducing surface congestion; and we have made progress towards harmonized ballast water rules with our Canadian counterparts to increase protection against the introduction of aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes”.

The St. Lawrence Seaway serves as a critical transportation artery, enabling vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean inland to the Great Lakes.  Since its inception in 1959, over 2.3 billion tonnes valued in excess of $350 billion has been transported via the Seaway.  Currently engaged in an effort to broaden its cargo base, the St. Lawrence Seaway launched the Hwy H2O marketing program, in concert with other marine stakeholders, to promote the marine mode’s ability to complement existing road and rail intermodal networks.  For more information, please refer to the web site.