Seaway’s Bid to Diversify its Cargo Base Gaining Traction

July 9, 2008

Cornwall, Ontario (July 9, 2008) – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced today that cargo incentives introduced at the beginning of the 2008 navigation season are bringing about a rise in new cargo movements.  As of June 30th, over 295,000 tonnes of new cargoes have transited the Seaway, generating $610,045 in new revenues.

“We are finding new pockets of opportunity” noted Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the SLSMC.  “The marine mode continues to be the transportation mode of choice for project cargoes.  In addition, we are seeking to establish our foothold in new industries as they begin to move product volume.  Among the new cargoes transiting the Seaway are bio-fuels from recently established processing facilities bordering our waterway, and a bevy of project cargoes including wind turbines destined for sites throughout North America.”

The Seaway’s total tonnage volume as of June 30th stood at 13.7 million tonnes, compared with 14.1 million recorded in the previous year.  “We continue to face headwinds in certain sectors” explained Richard Corfe “most notably imported steel due to the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, the slowing economy, and the high price paid for steel in overseas markets”.

With domestic steel mills at full capacity, the demand for iron ore, coal and coke has increased markedly, including new export opportunities for these commodities.  Coupled with stronger flows of road salt to replenish stocks depleted by a cold winter, bulk tonnage is strong, resulting in a Canadian laker fleet that is running at full capacity.  However, the lack of vessels coming into the system laden with imported steel has curtailed the amount of grain tonnage transiting the Seaway.

To encourage shippers to utilize the Seaway, the SLSMC has frozen toll rates, with the present 2008 tariffs remaining in effect until the close of the 2010 season.  In addition, specific toll discounts are applicable to cargoes meeting a variety of criteria.  More information concerning the incentive programs can be found on the Seaway’s website.