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Seaway Corporations, Transport Québec Lead Binational Trade Mission to Greece

(Washington, D.C.) June 3, 2004 - The binational Seaway Corporations and Transport Québec are leading a Trade Mission to Piraeus, Greece, that kicks off this weekend in search of new markets for the world's longest inland waterway. Twenty-one Trade Mission delegates from the Great Lakes Seaway marine industry in the United States and Canada are traveling to Piraeus, a small town near Athens that hosts Posidonia. Posidonia, the largest maritime conference in the world for shipbuilders and owners, port and terminal chiefs, marketing directors, shipping agents, and marine industry experts, takes place June 7-11.

The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) lead international Trade Missions each year. Inclusion of Transport Québec, the Canadian Province's Transportation Ministry, as a partner of this Seaway trade development effort underscores continued binational commitment to work closely on economic issues.

"Trade missions serve a catalyzing role in promoting the entire system," said SLSDC Administrator Albert Jacquez and SLSMC President Richard Corfe. "To successfully market our system's competitive advantages demands reaching out, person-to-person, to new customers, educating and updating them on what we offer: superb expertise, cutting edge navigation technology, customer-focus, and safe, efficient, reliable service."

The most recent Posidonia exhibition in Piraeus two years ago attracted participation of more than 16,000 buyers and representatives from 79 nations. The Seaway Trade Mission delegates have a national pavilion complete with a display where they will promote the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System as a safe, reliable and competitive route for exporting and importing goods.

This year's Trade Mission marks the 27th since the Seaway began this international trade development approach in 1985 and is the third visit to Greece. The delegates have a full slate of meetings and programs arranged for the week-long mission. They plan on briefing industry representatives on current port and terminal capabilities throughout the System, cargoes handled, and requirements for doing businesses.

Previous Seaway trade missions have been instrumental in attracting new business to the waterway. Results have included more ships offering cruising itineraries, new project cargoes, and introduction of forestry product shipments from northern Europe. Dutch shipper Wagenborg and Canadian ship owner Fednav have designed more than a dozen new ships capable of transiting the Seaway after detailed meetings with Trade Mission officials.