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St. Lawrence Seaway Chief Executive on the Hunt for More Cargo Business


IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Contact: Julia Fields


Montreal, Quebec — The chief executive in charge of the St. Lawrence Seaway plans to attract more cargo business to the shipping route through increased market development efforts and testing new technology that will allow different types of ships to access the navigation route.

Terry Bowles, chief executive of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, today told a business luncheon organized by the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council in Montreal that the St. Lawrence Seaway currently has the capacity to double the amount of cargo carried through its lock system.

Bowles told an audience of marine industry executives and Quebec government officials: “Currently operating at less than 50% of its total capacity, the Seaway can readily accommodate more cargo within its existing locks and channels.  In contrast, many highways and bridges are congested and facing serious capacity constraints, requiring significant investments in new infrastructure.”

He added that there were significant environmental and social benefits to moving cargo via marine transportation.  “We know that marine transportation is by far the most fuel efficient means of moving cargo.  Given its high fuel efficiency, marine also boasts the lowest total greenhouse gas emissions per tonne / km. Last, but not least, we must give consideration to our “quality of life”, where marine holds the best record of any transportation mode when it comes to offering a very low rate of spills and noise, and easing road congestion.”

Bowles estimated that that total tonnage carried through the Seaway for 2011 could come in around 37 million tonnes for a 2% increase over 2010 — a positive outcome considering the economic backdrop of slow growth in the U.S. and the European financial crisis. The mid-term goal is to reach the 40 million-tonne average volume that the Seaway experienced prior to 2008 and to grow further in the longer term.

Business incentive efforts over the past four years, including frozen user tolls and toll incentives for new cargoes and routes have resulted in an extra $12 million worth of business through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Bowles said: “To build upon the momentum that we have achieved, the Seaway is increasing its efforts in market development activity to pinpoint specific movements of freight currently moving over land that the marine mode may be able to capture.

Short sea shipping continues to be a strong focal point for our efforts.  Indeed, the majority of our Laker trade is very successfully engaged in short sea shipping of bulk products.  For non-traditional cargoes that we are hoping to capture, including container shipments, we are placing emphasis on movements incorporating longer trading lanes over water where the marine mode’s superior cost / km can create a competitive advantage, and we are supporting carriers in pursuing these opportunities.  We need to see all stakeholders work together to bring these efforts into fruition.”

He added: “Project cargoes represent one of the Seaway’s most promising avenues for future growth. We remain optimistic of further growth in project cargo due to the long-term prospects of wind energy projects, oil sands development in Alberta, and mining projects across central and western Canada, all of which require large pre-fabricated components that can be carried via the Seaway / Great Lakes toward their final destination.”

Bowles also outlined technological improvements the Seaway is making to improve the draft of the system, which will allow ships to carry more cargo per trip thereby improving their cost competitiveness against other modes of transportation.  The St. Lawrence Seaway is also currently testing Hands Free Mooring in the Welland Canal (which utilizes vacuum pads to secure vessels instead of wires or ropes).  The Hands Free Mooring system would reduce Seaway operating costs and potentially attract ocean-going ships that may have bypassed the system in the past because of the specific fittings needed for transit of Seaway locks.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs in Canada and the U.S., and annually generates $14.5 billion in salary and wages, $34.6 billion in business revenue and $4.7 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes. North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers, and power generators depend on the 164 million tonnes of essential raw materials and finished products that are moved annually on the system. This vital trade corridor saves companies $3.6 billion per year in transportation costs compared to the next least-costly land-based alternative.


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For more information, please contact: Andrew Bogora, Communications Officer, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation on (613) 932-5170 x 3285.



Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the positive economic and environmental benefits, safety, energy efficiency, and sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes-Seaway System. The Marine Delivers initiative is administered by the American Great Lakes Ports Association in the United States, and the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Canada. For more information, visit the Marine Delivers website at

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