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(St. Catharines, March 23, 2005) — The St. Lawrence Seaway announced today that it is reducing lockage fees on the Welland Canal for ships carrying cargo that is new to the waterway. The reduced rates are calculated on a sliding scale. All qualifying ships will benefit, with greater reductions going to smaller ships.

“We want to encourage new business for the Seaway, and more short-haul traffic, carried by smaller ships,” said Richard Corfe, President of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “The new rates are an excellent first step towards our goal of a market-driven toll structure.”

The new fees will come into effect at the start of the 2005 navigation season on March 23, 2005, and are a result of collaboration between the Corporation and Transport Canada to promote ‘short sea shipping’.

The reduced lockage fees apply to all “new cargo”, which is defined as either containerized cargo, or cargo which has not moved through the Welland Canal in an average annual amount greater than 10,000 metric tonnes between 2001–2003. “Any cargo that qualifies as new cargo will remain qualified for the reduction through the 2007 shipping season. A ship carrying more than one cargo will qualify for the reduction if more than 50% of its cargo in any transit is classified as new,” Mr. Corfe clarified. “The reduced rates will apply both to the loaded transit and to the same ship’s return transit in ballast.”

The new lockage fees will be calculated based on the ship’s gross registered tonnage. For example, a ship of 23000 GRT will see a reduction of approx. 15%, while the reduction will be approx. 75% for a ship of 7,000 GRT.