Ship operators back compromise to lower Lake Ontario

The following is the text of a news release from the Chamber of Marine Commerce:

(OTTAWA) — The Chamber of Marine Commerce will continue to work closely with our shipowner members and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. to support the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board’s decision Monday to continue flow rates from the Moses-Saunders Dam at 10,400 cubic meters per second. Following several days of continuous feedback, ship captains have consistently reported that they have been able to safely navigate and manage the currents from the increased outflow levels.

Ship operators are following additional robust mitigation measures put in place by the St. Lawrence Seaway, including reduced speed limits and the imposition of alternating one-way traffic in certain areas, to manage any incremental risk and ensure that vessels continue to safely deliver vital supplies for hundreds of industries in North America. A tug is also stationed at the Iroquois Lock for assistance if required.

“We have had positive feedback from ship captains thus far that water conditions are safe and manageable. Mariners will continue to regularly report back on conditions. Safety of ship crews and the public are the top priority,” said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “We believe this compromise solution will provide relief for upstream waterfront property owners while still allowing commercial navigation to safely operate. The water outflow exceeds what was accomplished in 1993 when shipping was halted on an alternating 'stop and go' basis.”

The Seaway is a crucial component of the integrated transportation system that moves goods throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region and part of a bi-national shipping economy that generates $35B of economic activity, including 227,000 jobs. Every day, the cargo moving on the Seaway alone produces more than $50 million worth of economic activity in Canada and the U.S.

Marine shipping on the Seaway supports cross-border trade; supplies materials for current construction activity in regions such as the busy Greater Toronto area; iron ore for steel production in cities like Hamilton and is an important export route for Canadian grain, for which movements have grown in 2017.

“It’s important to note that the value of St. Lawrence Seaway shipping also extends beyond these economic contributions,” said Burrows. “Maintaining a reliable consistent commercial navigation system reduces land congestion and accidents; reduces fuel consumption and carbon emissions and a whole host of other social impacts that affect Great Lakes communities on a daily basis.”

By Professional Mariner Staff