Great Lakes Shipping Season Kicks Off with Opening of Saint Lawrence Seaway

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March 29, 2018

The Algoma Niagara marked the start of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 60th navigation season with its transit of the Welland Canal, March 29, 2018. Photo Credit: Kevin Hotte

The 2018 Great Lakes shipping season kicked off Thursday with the official opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) joined with the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) to mark the opening of the Seaway’s 60th navigation season. An official opening ceremony took place in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The ceremony was attended by Canadian Transport Deputy Minister Michael Keenan attending as an honored guest and SLSMC President and CEO Terence Bowles and SLSDC Associate Administrator Thomas Lavigne.

“The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a key maritime corridor,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, who was not at the ceremony. “We look forward to another successful year of moving commerce through this dependable and safe maritime transportation system.”

The season’s first ship to transit, the Algoma Niagara, is upbound into the Seaway System, on its way to Toledo, Ohio to pick up a load of metallurgical coal, the SLSDC reported. 

“As the 60th Seaway navigation season gets underway, we are proud to underscore the exceptional safety and reliability record of the binational waterway,” said SLSDC Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. “State-of-the-art technology is transforming Seaway operations and allowing for gains in competitiveness. Cargo tonnage shipped through the Seaway was up 8 percent last year. We are optimistic that 2018 will be another strong year for Great Lakes-Seaway shipping.”

Over 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity are supported by movement of various cargoes on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.

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