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U.S. Seaway Asset Renewal Tour Highlights Economic Contributions to North Country


U.S. Seaway Asset Renewal Tour Highlights Economic Contributions to North Country

Washington, D.C. (February 1, 2012)– The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, today provided local North Country elected officials a first-hand look at the Seaway’s infrastructure renewal projects underway in Massena, New York.  The Seaway’s asset rehabilitation and modernization effort, called the “Asset Renewal Program” (ARP) is having a significant positive impact on the Upstate New York economy.  Nearly 70 percent of the ARP funds used during the program’s first three years (2009-2011), totaling nearly $35 million, were awarded within the Upstate New York region.

“In addition to these contracts, the ARP is producing approximately $2.5 million in additional economic benefits to the region each year,” said SLSDC Administrator Collister Johnson, Jr., who led the tour.  “These benefits are realized in local permanent and temporary jobs, and local spending on supplies, equipment, lodging, and meals.”

This winter there are 10 firms under contract with the SLSDC working on various ARP projects at the two U.S. locks and other SLSDC facilities. Each day, approximately 70 contractor personnel are working hand-in-hand with the SLSDC workforce on ARP-related projects in Massena. This represents the largest number of contractors working at the U.S. Seaway locks since their construction in the late 1950s.  In total, the ARP is a 10-year, 58-project, $180 million Seaway infrastructure renewal program, the first major effort of its kind in the history of the Seaway.

A rare glimpse of the Snell Lock while it was dewatered allowed the tour group to see the crews at work in and around the lock. The SLSDC ARP focuses on rehabilitating lock infrastructure, conducting maintenance dredging, investing in new technologies, purchasing capital equipment, and refurbishing aging facilities.  Prior to the start of the ARP in FY 2009, only $47 million in capital expenditures had been cumulatively invested in the U.S. Seaway locks since they opened in 1959. 

At the same time this work is underway in Massena, a group of maritime industry leaders were in Albany earlier this week to engage in discussions with New York state legislators regarding the impact of the state’s ballast water regulations on maritime commerce.  Steve Fisher, Executive Director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association said, “The negative impact of these regulations is significant. A study released in October, The Economic Impacts of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, found that 72,000 U.S. and Canadian jobs and over $10 billion in direct business revenue is impacted by the commerce transiting New York waters.”  

In 2010, U.S. and Canadian ports and marine terminals on the Great Lakes-Seaway System handled 322.1 million metric tons of cargo, including grain, iron ore, coal, manufactured iron and steel products, stone, and specialty cargoes such as wind components.  According to the economic impact study, the Seaway navigation system supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and annually generates $14.1 billion in salary and wages, $33.5 billion in business revenue, and $4.6 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes.  Since its inception in 1959, over 2.5 billion tons valued in excess of $375 billion has been transported via the Seaway. This vital trade corridor saves companies $3.6 billion per year in transportation costs compared to the next least-costly land-based transportation alternative.

More information on the Seaway’s asset renewal program can be found at To see the full text of the economic impact study, please go to


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For interviews, please contact: Nancy Alcalde, Director, Congressional & Public Relations, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation on 202-366-0091.


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.  

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