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Promoting Canada’s Trade through Marine Transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Waterway


Bruce R. Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce
September 24, 2018
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Promoting Canada’s Trade through Marine Transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Waterway

Good morning Chair and members. Thank you for inviting me to present before the Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Committee. I am thrilled to be here in Niagara Falls, located so close to the Welland Canal– a key component of a bigger national transportation corridor which, in its entirety, we could call ‘the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River Waterway’.

Je suis Bruce Burrows, Président de la nouvelle Chambre de commerce maritime (ou la CCM). La nouvelle chambre est une organisation qui représente plus de cent-trente membres du secteur maritime au Canada et aux États-Unis.

Nos membres font du travail aux Grands Lacs, dans la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent, sur les côtes du Canada et des États-Unis et en Arctique. La CCM travaille pour promouvoir une industrie maritime forte et concurrentielle au Canada.

I’d like to take a quick moment before delving further into my remarks to personally invite the members of the Transport Committee to participate in the CMC’s annual Marine Day on the Hill, taking place on Tuesday, October 16. CMC members will be in Ottawa to advocate for the importance of our sector to Canadian public interests, and we will cap off the day with an open reception. We will be reaching out to your offices with further details and I hope to see all of you there.

With that being said, let me now highlight the importance of the marine mode in a few ways –its efficiency, its economic contributions, and its environmental footprint.

Beginning with the environment, the marine mode has a great story to tell. Members of the CMC are dedicated to reducing emissions and are investing in alternative fuels to power ships, and we continue our global work at the International Maritime Organization in London to set a level playing field for emissions standards.

If you compare the modes, marine wins hands-down on environmental efficiency. One litre of fuel can move one ton of cargo 243km by ship, versus 213km by rail, and only 35km by truck. In terms of emissions, our existing footprint is already very small: a typical ship emits about 11.9 grams of CO2 per metric ton per kilometre, compared to 14.2 grams for rail, and 75.5 grams for trucks.

Adding to this great environmental story, is the efficiency of the marine mode. More than 90% of goods internationally move by the marine mode. It’s the most efficient way of moving bulk cargo and combined with the right intermodal connections, we can maximise the efficiency of other transportation modes – notably rail and road. With the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway system at 50% capacity, and with St. Lawrence Seaway cargo volumes up 9% last year, and 4% so far this year, we have a great opportunity to build on this new momentum and increase the amount of goods moving by marine to relieve congestion on highways. There are, I must caution, some challenges to growth (for which we have solutions) – I’m thinking in particular about the need to modernize and reform pilotage services, which have become very costly to users, and the need to replace an aged fleet of icebreaking assets.

But beyond efficiency and the need to harness recent gains, when we take a look at the economic contributions of the industry in Canada, it is amazing. In a recently released study of the impacts of the marine mode in the entire Waterway region, it was revealed that in 2017 in Canada, our sector:

·      Created 181,000 jobs (direct, indirect and induced)

·      Handled 185,000 metric tons of cargo

·      Contributed almost $26-billion in economic activity

·      Generated $9.7-billion in personal income

·      Generated $5.6-billion in tax revenue for the federal and provincial governments – $3-billion of that in federal taxes

As you can see by these numbers, Canada’s inland waters are a large contributor to our country’s trade success. These results underline the importance of the Waterway as a strategic transportation and trade corridor – not just for Canada domestically, but also with our trading partners in the U.S. and throughout the world. This corridor will help Canada build exports and diversify its international markets.

We hope to see this vital corridor recognized through increased infrastructure investment in the region as well as through increased utilization rates.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to invite me to present, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have.


About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national association that represents diverse marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as Canadian domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system's significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:
Jason Card
Chamber of Marine Commerce
(613) 447 5401