Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Great Lakes shipping season begins as St. Lawrence Seaway begins 52nd year

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The St. Lawrence Seaway began its 52nd navigation season on an upbeat note Thursday, forecasting as much as a 12-percent increase in tonnage volume for 2010.

The tug/barge MarineLink Explorer, owned by Upper Lakes Group Inc., was transiting the Welland Canal’s Lock 3. as Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), declared the Seaway navigation season open.

Total Seaway cargo volume for 2009 amounted to 30.7 million tons, the lowest volume witnessed since the early 1960s, according to a statement released on Thursday by SLSMC. The 25-percent decrease in cargo volume compared to 2008 is attributable to the depth of the recession, which sharply curtailed movements of iron ore and steel on the waterway.

For 2010, the SLSMC is projecting a rebound in tonnage volume of up to 34 million tons.

In a quest to retain current users and make Seaway transits more productive, the Seaway is testing vessel transits at a deeper draft within the existing channels. Utilizing new software, satellite navigation, and high resolution charts of the channel bottom, some vessels are being permitted to transit at a draft of 26’9” on a trial basis, the statement said. By this means, vessels are able to carry more tonnage, further enhancing the marine mode’s class leading energy efficiency and low carbon footprint.

Meanwhile, SLSMC said, progress continues to be made on the ballast water management front.

The findings of the 2009 report from the Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group (a joint endeavour between Canadian and U.S. authorities) notes that 100 percent of all ballast water discharged into the Seaway/Great Lakes complied with the Seaway’s stringent requirements.

Recent studies by leading academics reveal that no new invasive species attributable to ocean vessel transits have been reported since 2006.

 

 

Posted 3/26/2010

 

 

 

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