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St. Lawrence Seaway Kicks Off 2022 Navigation Season

Mike Schuler
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March 22, 2022

The St. Lawrence Seaway kicked off its 2022 navigation season on Tuesday.

As ice clears on the St. Lawrence River, ports on the Montreal – Lake Ontario Section will be the first to open their docks for the 2022 season.

The Welland Canal, which connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, is set to open on March 24, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to open the Soo Locks in northern Michigan on March 25. The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

International freighters were able to arrive at the Montreal – Lake Ontario section of the St. Lawrence Seaway as early as 8 a.m. this morning.

“We’re thrilled to start the 2022 navigation season,” said Craig Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “This year we’re confident that the St. Lawrence Seaway will continue to be a major driver of economic development while offering solutions to the environmental and supply chain challenges facing shippers around the world.”

In 2021, more than 28 million metric tons of cargo was shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway from the opening of the waterway on March 22, 2021 through its closing October 31, 2021, an increase of 1.92% compared to the 2020 season. Total transits increased 1.33% to 2,976 vessels through October.

Ports across the Great Lakes are optimistic about the season ahead.

“The 2022 Navigation Season is already shaping up to be a strong year for the Port of Cleveland. We are expecting to build on the success we achieved in 2021 as we continue to position Cleveland – and the Great Lakes – as a key destination for cargo,” David Gutheil, Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Cleveland.

“Michigan’s Gateway Port will launch 2022 with great pride, as we start the construction of the first marine container terminal in the state of Michigan, scheduled to open in 2023”, said Paul LaMarre III, Port Director, Port of Monroe. “We will also take delivery of our new 165-ton Manitowoc crawler crane and complete significant dredging work with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Improving infrastructure is a theme across the United States, and we are proud to say that we are doing our part for the Great Lakes and country, right here in Monroe, Michigan.”

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system serves region that includes eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. If this region were a country, it would have the 3rd largest economy in the world with a GDP of $5.5 trillion – larger than that of Japan, Germany, Brazil, or the United Kingdom, according to the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership, a coalition of leading US and Canadian maritime organizations. The region is home to 107 million people and accounts for almost 40 percent of the total cross-border trade between the U.S. and Canada.

More than 140 million metric tons of commercial cargo are transported on the waterway each year. Great Lakes-Seaway shipping also contributes to 237,868 jobs, $35 billion in economic activity, $14.2 billion in personal income and local consumption expenditures, $6.6 billion in federal, state/provincial, and local tax revenue, the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership reports.

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