St. Lawrence Seaway opens 64th navigation season

(ST. CATHARINES, Ontario) – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) marked the opening of the Seaway’s 64th navigation season on Thursday. The Canada Steamship Lines’ Trillium-class bulk carrier CSL Welland was the first ship to transit through the Welland Canal.

Over the past decade, with investments to modernize and optimize operations, the Seaway has firmed up its position as an essential transportation corridor, helping move products to markets and grow the economy. Its vital contribution was highlighted by dignitaries participating in the opening ceremony, including Omar Alghabra, Canada’s minister of transport; Jim Bradley, Niagara regional chairman; and Louis Martel, president and CEO, CSL Group.

“Our government’s top priority is keeping our supply chains moving. The St. Lawrence Seaway is critical to Canada’s economy, supporting over 92,000 jobs and moving $17 billion in trade activity each year,” said Alghabra. “With the end of the winter season, we look forward to once again welcoming ships from around the world back to Canadian waters.

CSL Welland opens the Seaway navigation season Thursday with its new mural. Chamber of Marine Commerce photo

“As we enter a phase of recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to keeping our economy strong and will continue investing in projects along this essential transportation corridor. To everyone working on the Seaway, we wish you a successful season,” he added.

“As the world navigates toward a post-pandemic reality, the SLSMC is ready to do its part to help reinvigorate trade, rebuild Canadian and American industries and create a resilient and more stable supply chain,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the SLSMC.

In 2021, some 38 million tonnes of cargo transited the St. Lawrence Seaway. The SLSMC and the U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC) are optimistic that the economy will continue to improve. However, the Seaway is ready to adapt to fluctuations in cargo movements which could result from the uncertainty created by how the pandemic, consumer habits and the conflict in Ukraine will evolve in the coming months.

“Our performance continues to highlight the resiliency of the Great Lakes Seaway maritime supply chain,” said SLSDC Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. “We look forward to building on last year’s accomplishments.”

– St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

By Rich Miller