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Chamber of Marine Commerce criticizes Seaway later opening dates than last year

La Chambre de commerce maritime critique la date d'ouverture tardive de la Voie maritime

2020-02-26

 

Due to the evolution of water levels on Lake Ontario, the Canadian and U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway authorities announced later opening dates in 2020 than 2019 for commercial navigation on the Welland Canal and the Montreal-Lake Ontario section. The decision drew rapid criticism from the Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC).

The opening dates are respectively March 24 (versus March 22) for the Welland Canal and April 1 (versus March 26) for the MLO section. Opening of the Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canals is currently scheduled for March 25. The North American waterway handled 38 million metric tons of cargo in 2019, compared with 41 million tons in 2018.

The opening of the navigation season in the Montreal-Lake Ontario (MLO) section of the St. Lawrence Seaway has been delayed to April 1 to allow more outflow from Moses-Saunders dam to lower Lake Ontario water levels, remarked the CMC. With little ice coverage, the MLO section of the St. Lawrence Seaway could have opened as early as March 20.  As many as 100 ship transits could have moved during that 12 days, the CMC asserted.

"We're very disappointed with this delay.  It's time for politicians to start working with all the affected residents, businesses and shipping stakeholders on smart, effective solutions for high water levels.  Delaying, shutting down or interrupting American, Canadian and international trade on the St. Lawrence Seaway and further damaging the economy and our nations' global trading reputation should never be an option," said Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.  "This dam is a very limited tool that does not solve this problem.  We need to work together to develop a much broader, holistic resiliency plan that looks at every avenue including flood zoning, shoreline resiliency and infrastructure investments."

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Transportation paralysis spreading across Canada as Indigenous protests escalate



2020-02-25

 

Container pile-ups at the key ports of Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax were reaching critical dimensions Tuesday as anti-pipeline protests and demonstrations in solidarity with Wet'suwet' hereditary chiefs spread across Canada. In the vicinity of the Port of Vancouver alone, more than 50 ships are sitting at anchor, while some carriers are diverting their vessels from the Port of Halifax.

In northern British Columbia, members of the Gitxsan Nation resurrected a blockade Monday night near New Hazelton, disrupting CN rail service to the Port of Prince Rupert. But RCMP broke up the demonstration and made arrests.

And in Vancouver police were moving to enforce an injunction on a blockade at the entrance of the Port of Vancouver by protesters at the intersection of Hastings and Clark streets.

"While we respect the right to a peaceful protest, the port authority has a federal responsibility to ensure the safe and efficient movement of Canada's trade through the port," said Danielle Jang, spokesperson for the Port of Vancouver, which handles the great bulk of Canada's trade with Asia.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that confidential talks brokered by the federal government led to CN and CP Rail co-operating to bypass the critical Tyendinaga blockade site near Belleville, Ontario in order to transport vital supplies to communities. (photo Port of Vancouver)


 
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Industry executives seek high water solution to protect Seaway trade corridor

Les dirigeants de l'industrie recherchent une solution pour protéger le couloir commercial de la Voie maritime de la crue élevée

2020-02-25

 

Ottawa, ON - Marine shipping executives are calling on government officials to protect the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway trade corridor by working with stakeholders to develop solutions that do not rely on one ineffective dam to solve high water levels across the Great Lakes. The issue, which has already cost the economy millions of dollars, was a top priority as representatives across Canada's business sectors met today with federal government officials during Marine Day on the Hill, organized by the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

High water levels have been negatively impacting shoreline residents and businesses, including those that depend on Seaway shipping.

"Going forward, we need to get together to develop a much broader, holistic resiliency plan that can address stakeholder needs and deliver actual, real results. It's time for politicians to start working with all the affected residents, businesses and shipping stakeholders on smart, effective solutions for high water levels," said Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

The CMC understands the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River board (ILORB) is currently considering raising outflows at the Moses-Saunders dam to a level that would lead to delaying the opening of navigation through the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the St. Lawrence Seaway - an unprecedented move.  With little ice coverage being experienced this year, typically the shipping season would open around March 20.

"Shutting down or interrupting Canadian, American and international trade on the St. Lawrence Seaway and further damaging the economy and our nation's global trading reputation should never be an option," said Mr. Burrows. "Given the current disruption impacting Canada's national railways, we certainly do not need any delays of transportation of critical supplies and products along this important trade corridor."

 

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