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Study warns NY State rules threaten future of Seaway

2011-10-18

OTTAWA - Cargo shipments on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system generate $33.6 billion in business revenues and 227,000 jobs in the United States and Canada, but uniquely stringent ballast water regulations planned by the State of New York by 2013 could "effectively choke off all trade" through the waterway.

This is the key conclusion announced on Oct. 18 in the first bi-national study of its kind on the economic impact of the entire waterway and its more than 100 ports.

The consultant study factored in the activities of firms supplying cargo handling, vessel services and inland (including intermodal) transportation services.

"The economic benefits of Great Lakes-Seaway shipping are far-reaching," said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

Various stakeholder groups in the Great Lakes/Seaway have made strong representations urging New York State to revise regulations requiring ships transiting its waters to sterilize the ballast water to a standard that is 100 to 1,000 times above international standards. No technology exists to achieve this standard, scientists and the study underline.

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Seaway workers ratify contract

2011-10-17

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) has announced  that its unionized employees, members of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union, ratified a three-year labour agreement covering a period extending from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014.

The agreement provides for annual wage increases of 2%. However, in the last two years of the contract, the agreement provides for either the negotiated 2% or 50% of the CPI rate, whichever is greater. The contract includes a lump sum payout to discontinue the practice of paying separation and retirement gratuities, and streamlines aspects of the job classification system providing the Corporation with greater flexibility.

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McAsphalt Industries enters terminals in Green Marine program

2011-10-12

McAsphalt Industries Limited has broadened its sustainability commitment by entering five of its Canadian terminals in the Green Marine environmental program.
The company's shipping division, McAsphalt Marine Transportation, became a Green Marine participant last November.

"We want to reduce the environmental impact of every part of our business," said John Carrick, President of McAsphalt Industries. "It's only natural to enter our terminals into the Green Marine environmental program since those operations are situated at ports and are a key part of the overall transportation network that we use to deliver products to our customers."

 

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FMC announces 'cargo diversion' inquiry

2011-10-05

In an initiative that has sparked sudden tensions in Canada-U.S. relations, the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington today (Oct. 5) announced a unanimous decision to begin an inquiry on "the extent to which the Harbor Maintenance Tax and other disparities affect container cargo diversion from U.S. West Coast Ports to West Coast Canadian and Mexican ports."

The FMC received written requests from two senators and eight members of Congress on the West Coast.

"We will be seeking voluntary public input and comment over a period of about 60 days," said a spokesman for FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky.

Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast has sent a letter to the FMC expressing grave concern over the inquiry initiative and its impact on two countries governed by a free trade agreement.

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Seaway reaches tentative agreement with union

2011-10-03

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) has reached a tentative collective agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers union representing 475 employees. Details of the agreement, announced on Oct. 3 following extended talks during the weekend, were not disclosed, pending ratification.

Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the SLSMC, said the conclusion of the bargaining process will allow ships to continue transiting the Seaway without interruption.
A previous, three-year collective agreement expired on March 31, 2011 and was extended to September 30.

Last Friday, federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt had urged both sides to reach an accord, noting that a work stoppage would hurt Canadian businesses and the economy. Her statement came on the heels of the union serving a 72-hour strike notice which could have been implemented as of noon, Oct. 3.
(Photo: Pierre Terrien)

 
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