Seaway Corporations Lead Great Lakes Trade Mission to France and Spain

September 17, 2002

Cornwall, September 16, 2002 – The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) are leading a delegation of 13 U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes executives on a Seaway Trade Mission to France and Spain that begins September 16. Programs and meetings during the mission will provide opportunities for delegates to make contacts with maritime industry leaders and decision-makers. The delegates will promote the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway as a safe, viable and reliable route for exporting and importing goods.

“Trade Missions serve an integral role in the health of the entire Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System,” said SLSDC Administrator Albert S. Jacquez. “They are the forum for maritime executives to reach out to new customers, educating them about the economic benefits that can accrue to those who want access to more than a hundred million customers in North America via a safe, efficient and reliable inland waterway.”

The delegation is scheduled to conduct its first meetings in Paris, a major European maritime center. Following two days of meetings with shippers, government officials and marine professionals, the U.S.-Canadian group representing the Seaway entities, Great Lakes ports, and labor travels to two nearby French ports–Le Havre and Rouen, in Normandy. Le Havre is one of Europe’s top five container ports, and Rouen is a vital inland river port on the Seine for the greater Paris metropolitan area. In Rouen, the delegation makes a presentation for local port officials.

The Trade Mission moves to Spain for the second week. Members meet with marine transportation experts at the Port of Barcelona, the top Spanish port in 2001, located on the Mediterranean Sea. Seaway officials are particularly interested in discussing tourism opportunities on the Great Lakes with cruise industry officials in the Catalonian port.

Co-sponsor of the Trade Mission, Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation Président Guy Véronneau, noted the importance of boosting the Seaway’s profile among European operators. “Europe is one of our most important markets,” said Véronneau. “We want to let them know we appreciate their business, and that we have the capacity for more. With our new customer-convenient Web site, e-business, the implementation of automatic vessel identification and other ongoing improvements, the Seaway offers its marine clientele better service with every year that passes.”

The delegation will return September 26.

This latest binational Seaway overseas trade mission represents the 25th that the Seaway entities have sponsored or cosponsored, over the past 16 years, to boost trade through the 2,300- mile Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System. This year’s Trade Mission to France marks the first return to that country since the first delegation in 1985. Trade missions have targeted Spain three times previously, visiting Barcelona, Madrid, and Bilbao in 1986, 1989, and 1991, respectively.