Great Lakes/Seaway stakeholders eye infrastructure opportunities

By: | Issue #644 | at 11:18 AM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  Canal and Waterway  

Great Lakes/Seaway stakeholders eye infrastructure opportunities

If the restoration of the US infrastructure moves forward, the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway system stakeholders could be a major beneficiary.

While iron ore and grain remain core cargoes of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System, stakeholders in the region’s maritime industry are optimistic that the current political and economic conditions favor continued growth in the breakbulk and project sectors.

Indeed, high up on the radar screen, various ports, carriers and terminal operators on the North American waterway are attempting to weigh the potential benefits of a trillion-dollar infrastructure agenda first announced by President Donald Trump when he campaigned on a pledge to restore steel, coal and manufacturing jobs in America’s ‘Rust Belt’ states. No details on content or funding were, however, outlined in Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28.

Newly-installed as president of the Ottawa-based Chamber of Marine Commerce, with membership on both sides of the Canada-US border, Bruce Burrows recently suggested that if Trump delivers on a massive infrastructure package, “there could be a whole lot more cargo being shipped on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence and on our coasts to deliver these projects.”

“Imagine the shipments of steel-making materials alone that would be needed,” he told a marine industry gathering in Toronto. “Investments in icebreaking resources, waterways, locks and portside infrastructure, and more efficient delivery of marine navigational services would unleash the full sustainable potential of shipping.”

At the same time as a Trump Watch, there is also in fact a relevant Trudeau Watch in progress. The Canadian federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau elected in 2015 is expected to soon outline details of an ambitious national infrastructure program. Without going into specifics, a federal Transportation 2030 blueprint last fall offered this undertaking: “Build world-leading marine corridors that are competitive, safe and environmentally sustainable and enhance northern transportation infrastructure.”

This suggests funding support for additional capacity at key ports, strengthening the competitiveness of the St. Lawrence Seaway through technological advances, and developing projects in the Canadian Arctic that will require shipments from eastern Canadian gateways of breakbulk and machinery…

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American Journal of Transportation