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The Future of the Port of Oswego Hangs in the Balance

Contact: Laura M. Blades 202-558-5123

Marine Industry Awaits State of New York Decision on Ballast Water Regulations

Washington, D.C. (October 7, 2010) – The Port of Oswego Authority could be forced to close if  New York moves forward to enforce unworkable rules governing the treatment of ballast water carried by commercial vessels on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Local government officials and marine industry executives met in Oswego for a tour of the Port facility and to hear remarks from the Port Executive Director and the Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. They addressed the onerous new regulations, which would effectively block maritime commerce from transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway, cutting off access to/from U.S. and Canadian ports on the Great Lakes.

The rules require that by January 1, 2012, commercial vessels operating in New York waters must have ballast water treatment equipment that can meet a water quality standard 100 times greater than that established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations. Additionally, vessels constructed after January 1, 2013, must have equipment that meets a standard 1000 times higher than international standards.  No technology exists anywhere in the world to achieve this goal.

These regulations inexplicably apply to all ships whether or not they discharge ballast water. The marine industry has collaborated with the U.S. and Canadian governments to ensure strong protections against the introduction of invasive species. All vessels entering the Great Lakes region must comply with the most stringent ballast management regulations in the world. Foreign vessels are required to pump out their ballast water while still at sea and flush any empty tanks with ocean water.

Since these rules were put in place in 2006, there have been no new discoveries of aquatic nuisance species entering the Great Lakes via ballast water.

Jonathan Daniels, executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority, said: “As the first U.S. port of call on the Great Lakes, the implications of these standards are disastrous. The Port directly employs 100 people and has a wider annual economic impact of more than $6 million.”Daniels continued: “The Port of Oswego is one of the most productive ports in North America with nearly 150 vessels and more than 1.1 million tons of cargo moving through the Port on an annual basis. Thirteen companies depend on the Port as part of their domestic and international logistics chain. International clients and cargoes span the globe from Brazil and the Netherlands, to Russia and Indonesia. The thought of closing the port because our home state issued these regulations is inconceivable.”

Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the economic contribution and environmental sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes region. 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 Web site 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