SEAWAY’S 48th NAVIGATION SEASON ESTABLISHES NEW RECORD
(Cornwall, January 2, 2007) – The St. Lawrence Seaway closed for the season on December 30th, 2006, with the passage of the vessel Kathryn Spirit through the St. Lambert Lock at 00:50 a.m. The Seaway’s 48th navigation season commenced on March 23rd, with the system remaining open for a record of 283 days, exceeding by two days the previous record set in 2004.
The Welland Canal section closed at 08:39 a.m. on December 30th with the transit of the articulated tug and barge Sea Eagle II.
“We are very pleased to report that Seaway traffic for the 2006 navigation season is projected to amount to a total of 48 million tonnes, a 10% increase over the 2005 results. This achievement bodes well for the future of our Seaway, as a strong performance within our traditional bulk and breakbulk staples was complemented by a series of new and diversified cargo movements” stated Richard Corfe, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC).
“Our market development efforts, centered on the Hwy H2O campaign, brought in over 500,000 tonnes of new cargo movements over the course of 2006, adding over $1.2 million in incremental revenue to our top line” continued Mr. Corfe. “As these results represent an approximate 100% year over year increase in the volume of new cargoes coming into our system, momentum is clearly on our side”.
The Seaway is also forging ahead with a number of technological initiatives, including vessel ‘self-spotting’ technology, a prototype of a “hands free” mooring system that will be installed this winter, and a “walk through” procedure at the Iroquois Lock which will allow vessels to transit the facility without coming to a full stop. The hydraulic drive conversion program also continues in earnest, as a key means of reinforcing the system’s stellar 99.5% ‘up-time’ record.
Mr. Corfe also outlined that “within the existing locks and channels, the Seaway can accommodate a further increase of over 60% in cargo volumes. The technological initiatives that we are undertaking, backed by consistent investments in our employees, prepare us for a future where the Great Lakes / Seaway System, - ‘Hwy H2O’ - will play a key role as a complement to heavily congested road and rail links within the intermodal cargo network”.
On the environment front, the SLSMC and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) are working in concert with marine stakeholders to advance ballast water treatment solutions, while, with its partners, implementing the most stringent ballast water inspection and shipboard management practices currently available.
SLSDC Administrator Collister (“Terry”) Johnson, Jr., noted that 2007 will be a pivotal year in addressing the ballast water challenge. “The SLSDC is planning to work closely with its U.S. and Canadian stakeholders, including the new U.S. Congress, to forge a practical solution to this important issue,” he said.
Mr. Johnson also noted the importance of working together collaboratively with U.S.-Canadian counterparts in industry and government on the Green Marine Initiative. “Leaders of both Seaway Corporations sit on the Steering Committee of this important group that represents more than 500 maritime companies and, consistent with our “blue is green” theme, we want to deliver the message that moving more cargo volume via the marine mode provides a ready answer to increasing energy efficiency and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mr. Johnson.
The Seaway is now closed for the winter to accommodate annual maintenance on its infrastructure and equipment, which will encompass some $28 million in expenditures.