The St. Lawrence Seaway opened for its 63d navigation season on Monday.
The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier MV Baie St. Paul became the first ship of the year to pass through the St. Lambert Lock on Monday, officially kicking off shipping on the key binational waterway connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was on hand to attend a virtual opening ceremony along with Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and others.
“Moving goods by water through the Seaway ensures trade is flowing freely between the U.S. and Canada while also reducing emissions,” commented Secretary Buttigieg. “After 62 years of operation, the binational Seaway System remains a model of international cooperation and partnership and showcases how we can work together to address the challenges of climate change.”
A ship transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 15 locks from Montreal to Lake Erie will cross the border between U.S. and Canada 27 times. The waterway is operated jointly by the U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Canada’s The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation that operates the canal on behalf of the Canadian government.
“Commercial navigation on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is an economic foundation of the U.S. and Canadian economies,” said Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation’s Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. “More than 237,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity in the U.S. and Canada are annually supported by movement of various cargoes on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.”
In 2020, some 38 million tonnes of cargo transited the St. Lawrence Seaway, which was about to equal to the 2019.
“The St. Lawrence Seaway has been a cornerstone of Canada’s economic success for more than 60 years, through the creation of thousands of middle-class jobs, and the generation of more than $9 billion in Canadian economic activity,” said the Canadian Transport Minister Alghabra. “This valuable partnership and trade route will play a vital role in our efforts to building back better through strong economic recovery.”
The Soo Locks in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan are scheduled to open at noon on March 24, 2021, marking the official start of the Great Lakes shipping season in the United States.